ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Angels packed up their lockers and dressed up their rookies in personalized red Speedos -- and secured their status as the best team in baseball the last month.
With Wednesday's 3-1 matinee win over the Oakland Athletics in 2013's Angel Stadium finale, the Angels stretched their unbeaten series streak to 10 and their record over the last 32 games to 23-9, the best mark in baseball.
And they did it with small ball and no extra-base hits.
"The fun we're having this month is directly of a result of us playing good baseball," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "We're not driving the ball as much, but we're scoring as many or more runs, and I think that's indicative of the diversity of our offense."
In his first start in 11 days, Jered Weaver (11-8) pitched the Angels to victory by throwing seven smooth innings of one-run ball, scattering five hits and a walk.
His 29 2/3-inning scoreless streak against the A's was snapped by Jed Lowrie's sixth-inning sacrifice fly, but he lowered his career ERA against Oakland to a sterling 2.23.
Ernesto Frieri earned his 37th save in relief after Dane De La Rosa pitched a scoreless eighth.
The Angels (78-80) got all their offense in the fourth and fifth innings, first on a Josh Hamilton fielder's choice that brought in Erick Aybar, and then on Aybar and Hamilton singles bookended by two walks and two sacrifice bunts, one of which was misplayed for an error.
With the win in his final start of 2013, Weaver became the fourth pitcher in AL history with 110 or more wins, 60 or fewer losses and an ERA lower than 3.30 in his first eight seasons, and the first since Jim Palmer in 1973.
But he missed eight starts in 2013 and battled forearm tightness in a season he described as a "tough one, personally."
SCIOSCIA PRAISES WILSON
Mike Scioscia doesn't hesitate to call his top left-hander, C.J. Wilson, one of top starting pitchers in the majors, because of his run prevention and because of his durability.
"Is C.J. one of the elite pitchers in our league? Yeah, there's no doubt," Scioscia said Wednesday. "I think he's put himself there with a lot of the innings and pitching deep into games."
Wilson, slated to start Friday against his old Texas Rangers teammates, has made 133 starts over the past four seasons. That's as many as any pitcher in the majors, tied with Detroit Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander.
His 17 wins this season are second in the American League to Verlander's Tigers teammate, Max Scherzer. He's thrown the 16th-most innings this season and the ninth-most over the past four seasons, but his 2013 ERA of 3.36 doesn't crack the top 30.
"If they are good innings and good starts, there's a lot of value in (making every start)," Scioscia said. "If you have a guy just eating up innings and not really being productive to the team, it's a different story. C.J.'s been that first guy. He's made start after start, good game after good game, quality start after quality start. That's what a team needs."
Wilson is different from other top starters, in that he has consistently struggled with pitch efficiency, especially early in games. He has exceeded 120 pitches five times this season and thrown fewer than 100 only three times.
That doesn't worry Scioscia too much.
"He's a progressive thinker, and I don't think he puts much stock into pitch counts," Scioscia said. "He feels he's in great shape and he should go out there and throw 140 or 150 pitches a game. And out of all the pitchers we've had, there's no doubt that he's maintained his stuff into high pitch counts better than anybody, and I think that puts him in the elite pitchers."
One day after outfielder Mike Trout got a half-day of rest as the Angels' designated hitter, Scioscia sat the 22-year-old altogether in the team's final home game of 2013.
Trout is scuffling to the tune of a .173 batting average during his past 15 games.
"He's just out of sync and he's been grinding it, and he just needs a day today," Scioscia said. "In the batter's box, he's pressing a little bit. It's a long season. He's tired."
Asked what he'd tell fans who came to the season's Angel Stadium finale hoping to see Trout, Scioscia grinned.
"He's played about 80 games here," he said. "This is a day off that's long overdue for him."
Trout had missed just three home games before Wednesday, all because of a tight hamstring in August.
He is likely to play Thursday in Texas, according to Scioscia.
The Angels plan to announce a change in their concessions provider from Aramark to Legends Sports and Entertainment, according to a Los Angeles Times report. It would begin in 2014. Legends is employed by the New York Yankees, among other professional sports teams. ...
Outfielder Josh Hamilton, on if he's surprised by the Rangers' second consecutive struggling September: "A little surprised. But at some point in the season, a little bump in the road is going to happen. It's all about the right timing. And obviously it's not the right timing in September."
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