ANAHEIM — Jason Vargas earned his second shutout of the season with a four-hitter and Howie Kendrick homered, leading the Los Angeles Angels to a 3-0 victory over the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.
The Athletics, who clinched their second straight division title Sunday, remain a game behind the Red Sox for the best record in the majors following Boston's 8-3 loss at Colorado.
Vargas (9-7) threw 110 pitches, retiring 15 consecutive batters at one point and striking out five en route to his fifth shutout and 10th complete game in 153 career starts. The left-hander, who was acquired from Seattle last December for slugger Kendrys Morales, is 3-3 with a 4.64 ERA in his last nine outings after missing almost two months because of a blood clot near his armpit.
Griffin (14-10) gave up three runs and five hits over five innings. He was 4-0 in his previous five outings, including a no-decision last Wednesday against the Angels when he retired 17 of his final 18 batters and allowed one hit over six innings — a two-run homer by Mike Trout.
Griffin finished his first full big league campaign with a 3.83 ERA, 171 strikeouts in 200 innings, and a major league-worst 36 home runs allowed. The Oakland single-season record in that department is held by Catfish Hunter, who gave up 39 in 1973 and still won 21 games.