Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels
- The Rangers went 15-4 against the Angels in 2013 and have an active five-game win streak in this series.
- Texas has grounded into a league-high 29 double plays so far this season. The Rangers finished tied for 14th in the majors in that category in 2013 (124).
- Angel batters have been quite successful jumping on the first pitch of any at bat this season. They are hitting .426 (49/115) with seven home runs on 0-0 counts; the batting average leads the majors, while the home runs are tied with the Brewers for second (Giants -- 8).
- Colby Lewis is 0-3 in his last seven starts against AL West clubs even though he has pitched pretty well in those appearances, posting a 2.95 (12/36.2) ERA and .228 (31/136) opponent average while striking out 27 and walking just six batters. One reason for his lack of success is that he received just nine runs of support over those starts (2.21 RSA).
- Mike Trout leads the majors with 14 multi-hit games so far this season, including three 2+ hit games in his last five contests. Trout batted .349 (22/63) against the Rangers in 2013, with seven multi-hit games.
- Hector Santiago is 0-4 in five starts so far in 2014. The Angels had two pitchers go winless in their first 5+ starts last season -- Joe Blanton had no wins in his first nine starts of the season while Jason Vargas went winless in his first five (streaks exclude any relief appearances).
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By TAYLOR BECHTOLD
(AP) -- After a solid pitching effort helped end their losing streak, the Texas Rangers are hoping to get another from Matt Harrison as he seeks his first victory since 2012.
Harrison will try to build on a promising 2014 debut while leading the visiting Rangers to a 14th win in 16 meetings with the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night.
Texas starters hadn't given the team much of a chance in the last three of a four-game skid, allowing 22 runs - 18 earned - and 25 hits over 11 1-3 innings. Colby Lewis, though, gave the Rangers (16-13) a better performance Friday when he held the Angels (14-14) to two runs over 5 2-3 innings in a 5-2 road win to open this three-game set.
Like Lewis, who made his fourth start after missing 1 1/2 seasons because of operations on his elbow and hip, Harrison (0-0, 3.00 ERA) has skipped most of the season while recovering from back surgery.
Now he's looking to regain his 2012 form when he won 18 games before missing all but two starts last season. In his first start in 13 months, he did not receive a decision Sunday after allowing two runs and three hits over six innings in a 6-5 loss at Seattle.
"There have been a lot of guys moving in and out of the rotation, but hopefully I'm back for the long run, and I know Colby feels the same way," Harrison told the team's official website.
Los Angeles had scored at least six runs in each leg of a three-game sweep of Cleveland before putting up less than three for only the second time in its last 10. Albert Pujols and J.B. Shuck combined for four of the eight hits in the opener as the Angels' four-game home winning streak came to an end.
David Freese singled and scored in his only at-bat, improving to 8 for 21 over his last six games. Freese, however, could miss some time after leaving the contest with a bruised middle finger when he was hit by a pitch.
Harrison hasn't had much success versus Los Angeles, going 1-4 with a 6.18 ERA while surrendering nine home runs in his last seven starts. Howie Kendrick (5 for 17) and Pujols (3 for 9) have homered off him, but Erick Aybar is just 3 for 18 and Mike Trout has gone 3 for 13 in their matchups.
Garrett Richards (2-0, 2.53), who has allowed two runs or less in four of five starts, will try to contribute to a Los Angeles starting staff that has posted a 2.90 ERA in its last 11 games.
The right-hander has gone 2-0 with a 1.44 ERA in four road starts, though he gave up five runs over seven innings in a 10-9 home loss to Oakland on April 15. He did not factor in the decision Sunday after allowing two runs and three hits with seven strikeouts over seven innings in a 3-2 loss at Yankee Stadium.
Richards has pitched well at home versus Texas, going 1-0 with a 2.41 ERA in four career starts.
The Rangers snapped a six-game homerless streak Friday when Shin-Soo Choo hit a solo shot before Alex Rios added a two-run homer in the sixth inning. However, Choo's status is uncertain after leaving in the seventh because of soreness in his left ankle.
Texas has averaged 6.3 runs while batting .303 with 19 home runs during a 13-2 stretch against the Angels.
Updated May 3, 2014