ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Howie Kendrick has manned second base behind Jason Vargas 17 times this season as an Angel, but he still goes back to Vargas' days with the Seattle Mariners to put in perspective how dominant the left-hander was Tuesday.
"I saw him do to us what he just did to those guys tonight," Kendrick said. "When he's got his stuff going, that's what he's doing -- getting a lot of mis-hits, ground balls, and getting double plays when he needs them."
Vargas (9-7) threw a four-hit shutout against the playoff-bound Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium, propelling the Angels to a 3-0 win.
He didn't walk a man until the ninth inning and didn't allow a man to safely reach second base all night. The closest Oakland got was former Angel Alberto Callaspo's failed attempt to stretch a single into a double in the eighth.
Vargas, 30, will make one more start this season, in Sunday's season finale in Texas, after which he becomes a free agent.
Asked Tuesday if he'd like to return to Anaheim in 2014, Vargas nodded.
"That would be ideal," he said.
Said Manager Mike Scioscia: "There's no doubt that he's given our rotation a boost as he's come back into it from being injured. You'd love to see him in an Angel uniform, but we've been through this before. You just never know how free agency works out."
The Angels scored their runs early Tuesday, their first coming when Kendrick homered to center in the first. They added two more on Josh Hamilton's single in the third.
In the past 41 games Hamilton has driven in a run, the Angels are 31-10.
Because they split their first two with Oakland, the Angels (77-80) can extend their unbeaten series streak to 10 with a win in Wednesday's home-finale matinee.
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