After a weekend of Manny Machado-fueled controversy in Baltimore, the Oakland Athletics couldn’t get too worked up over Angels closer Ernesto Frieri, who predicted that his team “would beat” the A’s this week and said that Oakland “had a little bit of extra luck” in winning five of its first six games over the Angels.

Catcher Derek Norris said “there might be some added incentive” when Frieri pitches, but Manager Bob Melvin scoffed at the notion that Frieri’s comments would light a fire under the A’s, who lead the major leagues in runs and earned-run average and have the best record in the American League.

“We play pretty spirited games anyway,” Melvin said. “I don’t think what anybody else says is going to make us say, ‘OK, now we’re going to play harder.’ ”

Indeed, the A’s brought their usual smash-mouth style of baseball to Angel Stadium on Monday night, crashing into walls to rob the Angels of extra-base hits, gunning down an Angels speedster on the bases and immediately retaliating when their star player was knocked down by a pitch.

But the Angels had an antidote to stop even the hottest team: a dominant starting pitcher. Garrett Richards allowed one run and four hits in seven innings, striking out four and walking none, to lead the Angels to a 4-1 victory that extended their win streak to four and cut Oakland’s division lead to 3 1/2 games.