Their second consecutive division title secured Sunday, the Oakland Athletics have set their sights on the best record in the American League, which would assure home-field advantage throughout the post-season and a first-round series against the wild-card survivor instead of the Detroit Tigers.
The A's took another step toward that goal Monday night with a 10-5 victory over the Angels that was powered in part by Jed Lowrie's three-run home run in the third inning, Brandon Moss' two-run shot in the fifth and Josh Donaldson's 56th multi-hit game.
Oakland (94-63) trails Boston (95-62) by one game and is three games ahead of Detroit (91-66) with five games left.
Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick hit a solo home run in the second inning and a three-run double in the third, and left fielder Collin Cowgill made consecutive diving catches in the fourth.
But the Angels couldn't overcome a rare off night for Garrett Richards, who was rocked for seven runs and eight hits in 42/3 innings. He had given up more than three runs only twice since moving to the rotation full-time in late July.
Tommy Hanson, demoted to triple A last month, made his first appearance since Aug. 7, retiring six batters in a row in the seventh and eighth innings, his fastball hitting 94 mph, before giving up two runs in the ninth.
Albert Pujols update
Albert Pujols, who suffered a season-ending left heel injury July 26, began jogging in early September with the intention of returning if the Angels made a miracle push to the playoffs.
He was shut down last week, but the fact he flirted with a return fueled hopes that he'll have a normal off-season and be 100% in 2014. Pujols won't need surgery, the tear of his plantar fascia accomplishing what a medical procedure would.
The Angels were 48-53 when Pujols was injured. They lost 18 of 25 to fall to 55-71 on Aug. 21 before rebounding with a 21-9 run.
"If they're playing better without me, I should retire, right?" Pujols said, jokingly. "You could easily get down, but they're winning games. That shows the character of the guys we have."
Jered Weaver, scratched from his last start because of forearm tightness, threw a bullpen session Monday and will pitch Wednesday. … Johnny Poto, the beekeeper who came to the rescue Sunday when a swarm of bees invaded Angel Stadium, got a Mike Trout-signed ball for his efforts.
Twitter: @MikeDiGiovannaCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times