The visiting Angels will be looking for another dominant display Thursday night as Wilson and Straily square off again in the opener of a four-game set.After posting a 4-5 record and 4.02 ERA over his first 13 starts, Wilson has turned a corner in his last seven, going 6-1 with a 1.69 ERA."His past couple starts have been really good," catcher Hank Conger told MLB's official website. "He's throwing a lot of strikes, he's getting ahead of counts."Wilson (10-6, 3.15 ERA) was at his best Saturday in a 2-0 win over the AL West-leading Athletics (59-42), striking out eight in a season-high 8 1/3 innings of three-hit ball."I've only faced him two or three times before that, but I think the difference in him was that he was throwing two or three different types of breaking pitches," A's first baseman Brandon Moss said. "He was throwing a little bit of a cutter, a slider and a curveball. He was mixing what he was throwing in different counts and he was throwing strikes."Wilson is looking to win a career-high fourth consecutive road outing after compiling a 0.64 ERA in his last two. He is 4-1 with a 2.48 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 36 1/3 innings in his last six starts in Oakland.Wilson, who has held Chris Young and Seth Smith hitless in a combined 17 at-bats, has also made things difficult on Derek Norris (1 for 14), Coco Crisp (4 for 28) and Josh Reddick (3 for 15).Straily (6-3, 4.14) had gone 5-0 with a 2.83 ERA over a nine-start stretch before yielding both runs and eight hits in seven innings Saturday."I just needed to throw up two more zeros than I did," he said. "My job is to go out there and just make pitches and keep us in the ball game as long as possible."The right-hander is 1-1 with a 6.26 ERA in four starts versus Los Angeles. Mike Trout is 6 for 13 against him, and Mark Trumbo is 4 for 8 with a homer and double.Straily may not face Josh Hamilton, who has missed the last three games with an injured right ankle. Hamilton, 2 for his last 19, is hitting .186 with no homers in his last 14 games against Oakland.The A's have gone a major league-best 20-5 at home since May 17, and they return to the Bay Area after concluding a 3-3 trip with Wednesday's 4-3 win over Houston. Crisp hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh inning and John Jaso also went deep."I don't think we rely on home runs, we just go up there and battle," Crisp said. "We just go out there and battle and try to manufacture runs in any way that we can."Home Run Derby champion Yoenis Cespedes, who didn't play against the Angels (47-52) over the weekend due to an injured left wrist, is 9 for 28 with a homer and seven RBIs during a six-game hitting streak in the series.Los Angeles had dropped three straight by a 20-6 margin and six of eight overall before holding on to beat Minnesota 1-0 on Wednesday. Albert Pujols drove in the only run, and he's hitting .320 with four homers and 11 RBIs over a 13-game stretch.Oakland has taken six of nine from the Angels this year.
C.J. Wilson is 3-1 with a 0.62 ERA during his past four starts, the second-best ERA in the league during that span. Wilson has kept 49 percent of his pitches in the lower third of the strike zone or lower in his past four starts, an improvement of 10 percentage points from his first 16 starts of the season. Athletics hitters have chased 26 percent of pitches down and out of the strike zone, the fifth-worst rate in the AL.