- Associated Press - Sunday, June 1, 2014

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - After two straight seasons of looking up at the Athletics in the AL West standings, the Los Angeles Angels came to Oakland with a chance to move into first place with a three-game sweep.

Instead it was the A’s who got the sweep by battering Angels pitchers for 26 runs.

Josh Donaldson hit a two-run single in a four-run third inning against Oakland nemesis Jered Weaver and the A’s opened up a cushion in the AL West by beating the Angels 6-3 on Sunday.

“We stubbed our toe this weekend but we’re looking at the big picture,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “We’re a good team and our pitchers are a big part of that.”

Jed Lowrie homered and drove in two runs and Coco Crisp added an RBI double against Weaver (6-4) to give the A’s their first home sweep of at least three games against the Angels since June 29-July 1, 2004.

Oakland leads the AL West by 4½ games over Los Angeles, its largest pre-All-Star break lead since being 5½ up in 1990.

“Any time you get swept you’re not happy about it,” Angels catcher Hank Conger said. “We’re fine. No one is pushing the panic button. This is not going to get us untracked from what we’re doing this season.”

The big inning was more than enough support for Sonny Gray (6-1), who allowed a pair of sacrifice flies and an RBI double by Erick Aybar in 6 2-3 innings to rebound from a rare rough start. Gray has 11 quality starts in 12 outings this season for a 2.45 ERA.

As good as Gray has been this season, Weaver has been even better against the A’s of late. He allowed just two runs in 44 1-3 innings over six starts the past two seasons against Oakland, proving to be the one Angels pitcher who befuddled the A’s on their way to back-to-back AL West titles.

Oakland more than doubled that scoring output in the fourth inning with a rally that got started when Craig Gentry hustled to beat out a potential double play. Gentry went to third on Eric Sogard’s single and scored on Crisp’s double. Donaldson added his two-run single and Lowrie capped the inning with a two-out single that made it 4-0.

“This is a totally different A’s club,” Weaver said. “They have great pitching, guys who can get on base at the bottom of the order and who can do the little things. I had one inning that got away from me. I wish we played better this series, but it is not the end of the year. We’ll see them again.”

Gray escaped a bases-loaded jam by striking out Conger to end the fourth inning before allowing the sacrifice flies to Aybar and Albert Pujols in the fifth.

Lowrie, who entered the game in a 4-for-30 slump, hit his solo homer in the bottom of the fifth to put Oakland back up by three and the A’s added an unearned run in the sixth as Oakland matched its highest scoring output ever against Weaver in 27 career starts.

“I think he just left some pitches up,” Donaldson said. “He tries to execute up at times, but there are times when he left some off-speed pitches up and that gives us a chance to definitely hit the ball a little bit harder.”

Gray was replaced by Dan Otero after Aybar’s two-out double in the seventh made it 6-3. Otero struck out Pujols to end the inning.

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