ANAHEIM, Calif. — Dan Straily has had an up-and-down season with the Oakland Athletics, although not in the conventional manner.
The 24-year-old right-hander was 5-0 with a 2.83 ERA in his previous nine starts, and he deserved a better fate Saturday night against the Los Angeles Angels after holding them to a pair of runs and eight hits through seven innings without walking a batter.
But C.J. Wilson was simply dominant, limiting the A's to just three hits in 8 1-3 innings and retiring 18 consecutive batters at one point in his 2-0 victory.
This is Straily's fifth stint with the A's this season alone. He was optioned to Triple-A the day after four of his starts – once because Bartolo Colon was reinstated from the suspended list, once because Brett Anderson went on the disabled list, another time because the team had three days off during an eight-game stretch, and again because the All-Star break was coming up.
"They're very good about letting me know what's going on. It's beneficial to me," Straily said. "I understand my job and I understand what the final goal is. I don't take it personally. I go down there and do my work. Hopefully I'm the one they call back up."
The Angels, who have won 13 straight games in which Josh Hamilton has driven in a run, opened the scoring in the first with his sacrifice fly after Mike Trout was hit by a pitch and took third on Albert Pujols' opposite-field single. Alberto Callaspo drove Straily's first pitch of the seventh inning into the first row of seats above the 18-foot wall in right field for his fifth homer.
"I just needed to throw up two more zeros than I did," said Straily (6-3). "My job is to go out there and just make pitches and keep us in the ball game as long as possible."
The AL West-leading A's lost their second in a row coming out of the All-Star break. Home Run Derby champion Yoenis Cespedes sat out his second straight game because of a sore left wrist that he injured during batting practice on Friday.
"He feels better today, but until our training staff feels like he's 100 percent and not putting himself in a position where he could further injure it, it'll be day to day," manager Bob Melvin said.
Wilson (10-6) struck out eight and walked two. Jed Lowrie's two-out double in the first and Nate Freiman's leadoff single in the second were the only hits Wilson allowed until Lowrie's one-out single in the ninth on his 119th and final pitch.
"We're not at our best offensively right now, but C.J. pitched well tonight," said A's manager Bob Melvin, whose team has scored three runs or fewer in eight straight games. "He kept the ball down and mixed his pitches."
Oakland first baseman Brandon Moss was in the starting lineup against a left-hander for the first time since May 12 at Seattle, when Joe Saunders struck him out all three times he faced him. Moss was 0 for 2 with two strikeouts and a walk against Wilson, and is batting .185 with 29 strikeouts against lefties this season.
"The season is full of ups and downs," Moss said. "We've been through a stretch like this before and we'll be through a stretch like this again. By no means is two games indicative of the way the rest of the season is going to go. When you're not scoring runs, everyone in the lineup is putting pressure on themselves. I see us all doing that because we want to win."
Wilson began his string of consecutive outs with three straight strikeouts on 10 pitches and didn't allow another baserunner until he walked Derek Norris on a full count leading off the eighth.
"I think he was as locked-in as we've seen him through his first seven innings," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think it was his command. I mean, his ball-strike ratio was incredible up until about his 90th pitch. He had pitches he was getting ahead with, pitches he was putting guys away with, and he didn't have to get back into too many counts. He was ahead most of the day and got strike one on just about every hitter."
Ernesto Frieri got the final two outs for his 24th save in 26 chances, striking out pinch-hitter John Jaso with runners at first and second to end it.
NOTES: Straily gave up four home runs to the Angels in his second big league start on Aug. 8, when he pitched 4 2-3 innings at Oakland and got a no-decision in the Athletics' 9-8 win. ... Cespedes hasn't homered in his last 19 games, after averaging one for every 19.0 at-bats in the majors prior to this drought. Only four previous Home Run Derby champions hit fewer than 10 after the break – Justin Morneau (2008), Bobby Abreu (2005), Garret Anderson (2003) and Ken Griffey Jr., who was limited to 24 games during the rest of the 1994 season because of a strike that wiped out the final 40 games of the Seattle Mariners' schedule. ... Batting practice was canceled for both teams because of a steady rain that required the rarely used tarpaulin to be put on the field. The Angels have not had a home game rained out since June 16, 1995, when the Chicago White Sox were in town. "I didn't even know there was a tarp here. Apparently, there is," Melvin said.