The Texas Rangers look to win three straight games in a single series at Angel Stadium for the first time in seven years when their four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels continues on Saturday.
Texas (56-54) defeated the Angels 7-3 on Friday, and in doing so passed Los Angeles for second place in the AL West. Texas trails first-place Oakland by two games while the two-time defending division champion Angels (55-54) are 2 1/2 games out of first.
The Rangers won just once in nine games at Los Angeles last season, and have not won three straight games in a single series at Angel Stadium since June 28-30, 1999.
Mark DeRosa hit his third career grand slam—his eighth homer of the season — on Monday, matching his career high in home runs from last season. DeRosa is batting .517 (15-for-29) with four doubles, two home runs and 12 RBIs in his last seven games.
“The best thing that happened to us was Mark DeRosa’s grand slam because we were able to separate the score a little bit,” Texas third baseman Hank Blalock said. “I mean, you keep these guys close and they’re real tough in the late innings with their offense and their bullpen—especially in this ballpark.”
The Rangers have won four straight games overall, scoring 33 total runs in those contests.
While Texas’ offense is surging, the Angels have dropped three in a row and have scored just 15 runs over their last five games.
Los Angeles right fielder Vladimir Guerrero went 2-for-4 with a double on Friday, and has hit safely in all 44 games he has played against the Rangers in his career. He is batting .443 (77-for-174) with 15 homers, 17 doubles and 35 RBIs in those contests.
The Angels learned Friday they will likely be without reigning Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon for the rest of the season after an MRI exam revealed a partial tear of his right rotator cuff.
Colon’s injury puts added pressure on 23-year-old Ervin Santana (11-5, 4.20 ERA), who leads the team in victories. After a superb start to the season, Santana looks to avoid losing his third straight start for the first time in his career when he pitches Saturday.
Santana allowed three runs and eight hits in eight innings of a 3-1 loss to Oakland on Monday, and has a 5.65 ERA in his last two losses.
“Ervin made a couple of mistakes with breaking balls,” Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. “Outside of that, Ervin pitched a terrific game.”
The right-hander went 7-0 with a 3.36 ERA in nine starts from June 6-July 20, but has not won a game since July 15.
Santana, who is 2-1 with a 7.88 ERA in three career starts against the Rangers, can match his win total from his 2005 rookie season with one more victory.
Texas counters with rookie John Koronka (7-6, 4.96), who allowed two runs and six hits in five innings of a 15-2 win over Kansas City on Sunday.
The left-hander earned his first win of the season on April 12 in his only career start against the Angels, allowing two runs and six hits in six innings of an 11-3 victory.