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10


American League Preview from The Sports Network



Monday, April 29th (All times eastern)

LA Angels of Anaheim (9-15) at Oakland Athletics (14-12), 10:05 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: LA Angels - Tommy Hanson (2-1, 4.24) Oakland - Daniel Straily (1-0, 2.70)

(Sports Network) - Perhaps the return of Yoenis Cespedes will provide the spark the Oakland Athletics have lacked over the last week. The A's try to make it two straight wins on Monday when they open a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at O.co Coliseum.

Cespedes returned in dramatic fashion on Sunday, as he clobbered a game-tying home run in the ninth inning, setting the stage for Oakland's thrilling 9-8, 10 inning win over the Baltimore Orioles.

"(Cespedes) takes pressure off everybody in the lineup," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Even when he's not swinging well, I think guys have less pressure on themselves. The other team is always aware of where he is, and therefore to have someone like that to impact the lineup, it helps everyone else out."

Cespedes finished the game 2-for-5 with two runs scored, while Seth Smith hit a two- run homer and drove in three and Josh Donaldson added a two-run double for the A's, who won for only the second time in their last nine games.

"We just needed to win," Melvin said. "We needed to fight, and we needed to claw back and do something good and win a game more than anything."

Getting the call for the A's on Monday will be Daniel Straily, who steps in for the injured Brett Anderson. Anderson is still bothered by a sprained ankle, but it seems as if he'll avoid a trip to the disabled list.

"It's getting better each day," Anderson said. "I think skipping one time through will just give me the insurance to be sure it's right. It should clear up all the soreness, so I can just get back to pitching."

Straily won his first start against Houston back on April 5, holding the Astros to two runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings. He also struck out 11 in that one.

Los Angeles, meanwhile, will turn to the returning Tommy Hanson, who has been away from the team on the bereavement list following the death of his stepbrother.

"I threw when I was (in Georgia)," Hanson said. "It's not the same as getting bullpens in and working out. I worked out at a hotel gym and did some shoulder stuff and ran, and a little bit of core stuff. I threw a bullpen after the game (Saturday) night. The bullpen was good. It's not going to be the same as if you're here, but I am ready to go into my start."

Hanson hasn't pitched since April 19 when he beat Detroit to improve to 2-1 to go along with a 4.24 ERA.

Los Angeles' struggles continued this weekend against Seattle, as the Angels dropped three of four to the Mariners, culminating with a 2-1 loss on Sunday at Safeco Field.

The Angels have now lost four of five.

Angels starter Jason Vargas (0-3) went the distance but remained winless on the season. The former Mariner struck out seven and yielded just two runs and six hits in eight innings of work.

"I thought Vargas pitched a great game," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of his starter. "Just a couple mistakes there late and Bay and Morse didn't miss them and that ended up being the ballgame, but he pitched a great game."

Oakland swept the Angels earlier in the season.

04/29 10:39:04 ET