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BOS@OAK: Donaldson hits a walk-off single in the 11th

The A's enter the second half of the season with the second-best record in the American League and with the AL West lead.

And yet, manager Bob Melvin feels his team hasn't tapped into its potential.

"There are definitely some areas where we can be better," Melvin said. "Now, we're winning games, and that's a good thing, and you look at where we are, it's a good position that we're in. But we can get much better."

Melvin isn't limiting the areas that can undergo improvement.

"I think, offensively, we can get better," he said. "Defensively, we can get better. Our pitching has been terrific, and I don't know how much better we can get there. But you look at some of the guys and some of the years they're having, and I think there's more in the tank, definitely."

That may pertain to outfielders Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes. Reddick paced the A's with 32 home runs last season. This year, he has clubbed only four homers and is batting just .218. Cespedes' average has plummeted as well, as the outfielder is hitting .225 with 15 homers.

The Angels would also benefit from one of their scuffling sluggers getting back on track.

Josh Hamilton had logged 19 hits in 56 at-bats (.339 average) in 15 games before a pair of 0-for-4 performances on Saturday and Sunday. The mini hitless stretch dragged his overall average down to .224.

It has been a rough half for the Angels' marquee offseason addition, though manager Mike Scioscia has been encouraged by his recent showing.

"I like the confidence he has now," Scioscia said. "Once he got his timing down and his ability to drive the ball to all fields, he's back to where he needs to be. No doubt his approach and his at-bats have been 180 degrees from where they were his first two, three months of the season."

Scioscia said he isn't worried about his offense, which has struggled at times behind inconsistency from power hitters Hamilton, Albert Pujols and Mark Trumbo. The skipper conveyed more concern about his pitching staff. The Angels closed the first half five games under .500.

"We're not going to reach our goal without starting pitching," Scioscia said. "We're not going to reach our goal without consistency that gives us the chance to win. I think we've proven that. When guys perform the way we expected them to, we've had some good streaks."

Scioscia is eager to see his team attempt to capitalize on a bevy of games against division opponents, as his club tries to erase a sizable deficit in the standings. Seven of the Angels' first 10 games after the break come against the A's, including Friday's series opener at Angel Stadium.

"Obviously, it's a big opportunity. ... As the season moves on, you're going to have to start taking advantage of when you are matched up head to head because of the [first-half] hole we've dug," Scioscia said. "There's not a huge margin of error moving forward, but we're totally capable of reaching our goal. That's what we need to focus on."

A's: Oakland records historic half
• The A's entered the All-Star break in first place in the division, the first time the franchise has accomplished that feat since 1990. Oakland's 56 wins are tied for the most at the break in team history. The 1971, '72 and '73 teams also reached that mark.

• Third baseman Josh Donaldson was not selected to the AL All-Star team, but he had himself quite a first half. Donaldson stroked the walk-off hit in Sunday's first-half finale. This season, he is batting .308 with a .379 on-base percentage, a .522 slugging percentage, 16 homers and 61 RBIs.

Angels: Weaver to toe the rubber
• Jered Weaver will take the hill on Friday, and the right-hander has posted a 3-5 record and 3.63 ERA this season. He suffered the loss on Saturday against the Mariners, who ended his string of three consecutive quality starts. In that outing, Weaver allowed a home run for the first time in four starts.

"Sometimes they get you, and sometimes you get the out," he said. "You tip your cap when they do."

Worth noting
• Thirteen of the Angels' first 20 games after the All-Star break will come against AL West opponents.

• The A's boast an AL-best 30-15 record at home. Comments