ANAHEIM -- The cure for contagious offensive slumps has yet to be discovered. And if by slim chance it ever is, Jered Weaver likely won't be involved.
A desperate group of A's hitters, entering Monday batting an American League-low .201, is in search for all the help they can get right now. They didn't get it from Weaver.
Not that they expected it, given the Angels right-hander's storied success against the A's. But on this night, not even a single run was to be had, as the A's were shut out, 6-0, for the third time this season.
As a result, their season run total didn't budge, remaining at 28. That's now the lowest mark in the AL and runner-up for lowest in the Majors, second only to Pittsburgh's 19. And the goings won't get any easier, as the A's face Dan Haren, Ervin Santana and C.J. Wilson -- together, owners of a combined 20-10 record and 3.17 ERA against Oakland -- in the final three games.
"They have four guys they probably feel can pitch at the top of the rotation," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Certainly Weaver is one of the elite pitchers in the game, and we saw Felix [Hernandez] three times, but that's really no excuse. We're still just continuing to press a little bit."
"It's still early," outfielder Josh Reddick said. "There's no need to push a panic button right now. We just gotta find that one thing that makes us click. We just can't seem to get that hit with runners on, and somebody's going to have to step up and take charge of things, put the team on their back until everyone else can get hot."
Weaver, improving to 7-7 with a 2.71 ERA in 21 career starts vs. the A's, held Oakland scoreless for 6 2/3 innings, before handing the ball over to an Angels bullpen that finished the job with ease, despite having allowed 15 earned runs in its previous 25 1/3 innings.
Overall, the A's collected just six hits in the four-game series opener, two of which didn't even leave the infield. Their first, a Reddick line-drive single to right field, didn't come until there were two outs in the fourth inning, and only once did an Oakland runner reach third base.
It made for a tough task for starter Brandon McCarthy, who endured his own share of struggles from the get-go. The A's right-hander allowed three consecutive one-out hits, the last a three-run shot to Kendrys Morales that quickly handed the Halos an advantage they never gave back.
McCarthy had never allowed a home run on an 0-2 pitch previously.
"I was trying to elevate a fastball, and it was just indicative of the whole night -- if I wanted to throw the ball somewhere, it just didn't go there," he said. "A bunch of other ones I got away with, but that one was the big one that really hurt."
Weaver, of course, didn't mind watching it.
"Three runs at the beginning of the game was awesome," he said. "That put me a little bit at ease. I was able to fill up the zone there a little bit."
McCarthy didn't allow another run until the eighth, when Morales created some more damage by way of an RBI double, and he boarded at least one baserunner in all but one of his seven-plus innings, as a feisty Angels offense managed 11 hits off the hurler, who remains winless this season.
Strangely, McCarthy has allowed 10 or more hits just three times in his career -- all three times against the Angels, all three times in Anaheim, all three times in April.
With four runs already attached to his name by the time he departed with a runner on second, a fifth was added shortly after, as righty Andrew Carignan issued three straight free passes and a wild pitch that extended Los Angeles' lead to six. Carignan threw just 10 of his 25 pitches for strikes and was sent out after the game.
"His command was off," Melvin said. "He's a guy that has a plus-fastball, needs to get better command of his breaking ball and less predictable."
Meanwhile, the A's loaded the bases against LaTroy Hawkins in the ninth, via a pair of Angels errors and a walk, but Jemile Weeks' swinging strikeout put the game to rest.
"We had some decent at-bats, certainly not early in the game but later on, but the frustration really mounts when you hit some balls hard and right at people," Melvin said. "I know all teams do that, but when you're struggling in the fashion we are offensively right now, it becomes doubly frustrating.
"We'll keep grinding through it. My big belief is that one big hit leads to another one and it'll be contagious and we'll be off and rolling, but right now it's a bit of a struggle."
As a result, A's pitchers are feeling like their own are magnified.
"You feel like you're not doing your part even more so, and I don't really like that feeling at all," McCarthy said. "So much of this game is individual, and and when I'm not pitching well during a time when we're struggling as a whole, I feel like it all falls on me."