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MIN@LAA: Pineiro holds Twins to one run through seven

The Angels could have received some help from the A's on Sunday while Oakland was finishing off a three-game set with the American League West-leading Rangers.

But the A's offense was dormant and Texas took two of three to remain 2 1/2 games ahead of the suddenly hot Angels, who lost to the Yankees on Sunday but have won six of their last eight games. Now, the Angels will get their own crack at the A's, a team far out of the division race but still scrapping to win ballgames any way it can.

Oakland featured a lineup with three rookies on Sunday, including the highly touted outfielder Michael Taylor, 28-year-old catcher Anthony Recker and 25-year-old outfielder Jai Miller -- who made his Major League debut. Manager Bob Melvin said there will be a similar mix of veterans and youngsters the rest of the season, as the A's get a chance to test some inexperienced players while still trying to be competitive.

"It's a balancing act, there's no doubt about it," Melvin said. "You continue to play your veterans, For the most part, everyone we're playing is a contending team, whether it's Texas, the Angels or Detroit. ... You have to have a balance [with] the guys that you run out there, as far as giving yourself the best chance to win the game, but you're still trying to evaluate talent going forward."

The A's were nearly shut out on Sunday before Eric Sogard smacked a pinch-hit homer in the ninth inning.

On Monday, starter Gio Gonzalez and his teammates will host the Angels for the first act of a three-game set between the divisional foes. The Halos rode the backs of Jered Weaver and Dan Haren to take two of three from the Yankees over the weekend, but they'll now turn to veteran right-hander Joel Pineiro.

Pineiro is making his fourth start since spending some time in the bullpen. In his last time out, on Sep. 4, Pineiro spun seven-inning gem against the Twins in which he allowed one run.

"We need [to go] five times around the rotation with a chance to win," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said after Pineiro's latest effort. "J.P. pitched great. ... It's good news for us. We need him."

"Obviously, we've been counting on the big three [Weaver, Haren and Santana] all season," Pineiro said. "Hopefully, myself and whoever's at the end of the rotation can help out."

Angels: Izturis is Mr. Clutch
Maicer Izturis has driven in the game-winning run in each of the last three Angels victories. His walk-off sacrifice fly finished the Yankees on Friday night, while an RBI double in the second inning was the difference in Haren's gem on Saturday.

Izturis will turn 30 on Monday, and experience has started to make a difference.

"Last year, his versatility -- especially offensively, hitting anywhere in the lineup, but also defensively, playing three positions -- was something we missed," Scioscia said. "It's impacted our lineup this year.

"He'll go line to line, and he doesn't overswing. He'll put the ball in play. He has been a clutch hitter his whole career."

A's: Crisp could miss series
After injuring his right ankle on Friday, outfielder Coco Crisp could miss the full series against the Angels, Melvin said.

"We'll probably do some more extensive stuff with our doctors when we get back home," Melvin said. "[Crisp had] X-rays. It didn't show a fracture, but we may be looking at an MRI when we get home."

Crisp missed the rest of the series against Texas, paving the way for Miller's debut on Sunday, while Ryan Sweeney got the nod in center field and occupied the leadoff spot.

Worth noting
• The A's have used 48 players and 26 pitchers this season. The pitcher total ties an Oakland record set in 1997.

• The Angels are 5-11 in their last 16 games in Oakland, though they haven't lost a season series to the A's since 2003.

• With one more save, Angels closer Jordan Walden will become the fifth rookie since 2000 to notch 30 or more saves in a season.

• The A's committed three errors on Saturday and two more on Sunday, while their 117 on the season are second most in the Majors, behind only the Cubs (120).

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