LA Angels of Anaheim (53-37) at Texas Rangers (38-53), 8:05 p.m. (ET)
07/10/2014 10:45 AM
07/10/2014 10:50 AM
(SportsNetwork.com) - One team's streaking in a good way. The other, not so much.
The two sides of that equation -- the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Texas Rangers -- will get together on Thursday night for the first of four games at Globe Life Park.
The Angels enter amid a torrid stretch of 15 wins in 19 games that's moved them within 3 1/2 games of the Oakland Athletics at the top end of the American League's West Division. Los Angeles has been nearly unbeatable at home, but is a game below .500 on the road after 43 dates.
It's also dropped eight consecutive games away from home against the Rangers, including a four-game skid in Texas at the end of last season that was the first of its kind since 1978.
But things have changed dramatically since then for the Rangers.
Winners of 90-plus games for four straight years, the team has plummeted to the bottom of the majors this season, and an 8-4 loss to Houston on Wednesday both concluded a three-game sweep and allowed the Astros to get by the Rangers and out of the AL West cellar.
Texas has lost all but three of its last 21 games.
"It's been really tough. It's been frustrating," outfielder Alex Rios said. "This is a season that I believe that we're all going to remember in a bad way."
The Angels have lost just four times since June 20, and all but one on the road.
"This team is finding ways to win, and we're not out of it until the game's over," Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun said.
Taking the ball for Los Angeles in the opener will be lefty Hector Santiago, who hasn't won himself since last August.
He allowed five runs in five innings in his last start against Houston on Saturday, and allowed five runs in six innings while dropping a 5-2 decision to Texas in early May.
Santiago will be opposed by Rangers right-hander Colby Lewis, who got the win in that game after allowing two runs in a 5 2/3-inning stint.
Lewis hasn't won at home since April 19.
He's 1-4 with a 6.54 ERA in Texas, but got a 5-3 road win against the Mets in his last start on Saturday after allowing two earned runs and striking out seven in six innings.
On Wednesday in Anaheim, Albert Pujols hit the go-ahead, two-run homer in the bottom of the seventh inning, and the Angels came away with an 8-7 victory over Toronto in the rubber match of a three-game series.
Calhoun also slugged a two-run shot, while Josh Hamilton, Howie Kendrick and David Freese added an RBI each for the Angels.
Jason Grilli (1-1) turned in a scoreless top of the seventh for the win. Joe Smith fanned two in a scoreless ninth to earn his 12th save.
Meanwhile in Texas, Robbie Grossman snapped an 0-for-28 slide in a big way, smacking a solo homer among his four hits, two RBI and two runs scored as the Astros defeated the Rangers, 8-4.
Yu Darvish (8-5) struck out eight, but surrendered six runs on 10 hits over six frames for the Rangers.
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