MLB

Angels-Athletics Preview

Once seemingly in good position to defend their AL West title, the Los Angeles Angels have posted the worst record in the league over the past 5 1/2 weeks.

Hector Santiago's fall from grace has coincided with his team's struggles in that stretch.

The visiting Angels look to turn it around and avoid a fourth straight loss Monday night against the last-place Oakland Athletics.

Los Angeles was two games up in the division July 22 after winning seven in a row, but the club has since gone 11-25 to fall 6 1/2 behind first-place Houston.

The Angels (65-65), on the verge of falling below .500 for the first time since June 7, have also dropped 3 1/2 behind surging Texas for the second wild-card spot.

"Even though this is a tough stretch, we always talk about, 'Hey, the sun is coming up, and let's go out there and try to create some momentum,'" manager Mike Scioscia told MLB's official website.

After going 7-4 with a 2.30 ERA in his first 18 starts and being selected to his first All-Star Game, Santiago has gone 0-4 with a 5.70 mark in his past seven outings.

The left-hander hasn't made it out of the fifth inning in his last two. He allowed five runs and seven hits - including a career-high three homers - over 4 1-3 in Wednesday's 5-0 loss at Detroit.

Santiago (7-8, 3.13 ERA), however, is 3-0 with a 1.31 ERA in seven career starts against the A's.

Oakland's Stephen Vogt had three hits and his 18th home run in a 7-4, 11-inning win at Arizona on Sunday. He's gone 6 for 9 with two homers in his last two games and is 9 for 18 in six at home against Los Angeles.

''It was just nice for us to see it, in a game that could have easily just swayed the other way like so many of our games have this year,'' Vogt said after the A's blew a one-run lead in the ninth.

Oakland now seeks only its second three-game win streak since a five-game run June 20-25.

Felix Doubront (1-1, 3.70) should be fine after going two innings and leaving after getting hit on the foot by a line drive at Seattle last Monday. He was slated to start Saturday before the club choose to give him two extra days.

The left-hander hasn't given up an earned run over eight innings in two starts since joining Oakland (57-74) on July 31, and he's posted a 1.26 ERA in his last three appearances for the A's.

Mike Trout has doubled twice in five at-bats against Doubront.

Trout was batting .194 in August before finishing with four hits in Sunday's 9-2 loss at Cleveland. The Angels rank last in the majors in batting (.218) and runs (81) this month.

David Freese, out since July 23 with a fractured right index finger, could be activated off the disabled list Monday. He's hit .308 in his last 10 games at O.co Coliseum.

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