The Angels look to complete a three-game sweep of the Rangers when the teams meet in Sunday’s finale at Angel Stadium.
Los Angeles beat Texas 9-5 on Saturday to remain tied with Boston for the best mark in the majors at 55-35. The Angels, who hold a three-game lead over Seattle in the AL West, improved baseball’s second-best home record to 31-13.
They have won six straight meetings there with Texas and 18 of the last 22. A win on Sunday would give Los Angeles its second home sweep of the Rangers (38-52) this season.
The Angels are batting a major league-best .310 on their home field and recorded 13 hits Saturday. Vladimir Guerrero, Reggie Willits and Gary Matthews Jr. each had two RBIs for Los Angeles, which used a three-run third inning to take a lead it never relinquished.
The Angels’ bullpen has posted a 1.29 ERA over the last four games and preserved John Lackey’s lead Saturday. Reliever Justin Speier, who missed 63 games because of an intestinal infection, made his first appearance since April 30 and struck out the side in the seventh on 13 pitches.
“That’s been my job my whole career - just going out there and making my pitches,” Speier said. “Those are three good hitters, and I made some good pitches. It was just a blessing to get back out there and do my job. It was huge. It was 2 1/2 months of frustration being vented in one outing.”
Los Angeles starter Jered Weaver (6-5, 3.67 ERA) makes his second straight start against Texas. The right-hander allowed three runs and seven hits over five-plus innings in a 4-2 defeat to the Rangers on July 4.
“I need to do what I’m doing later, early - not be too fine, get outs early,” Weaver told the Angels’ official Web site.
It was the second straight loss for Weaver following a five-game winning streak over seven starts, which was sparked by a 7-2 win over Texas on May 14. He held the Rangers to one run over seven innings in that game and is 1-1 with a 3.41 ERA in five career starts against them.
Saturday’s loss gave the Rangers their first series defeat in a month as starter Kameron Loe allowed five runs in 2 2-3 innings. Texas fell to a dismal 16-30 on the road and is trying to avoid losing three in a row overall for the first time since June 10-13.
“I was hoping we would continue from where we left off,” right fielder Marlon Byrd told the Rangers’ official Web site. “I thought this was a W, especially the way Kam was pitching. But that other team just keeps coming after you from all angles.”
Brandon McCarthy (4-6, 5.70) looks to finally get some help from his teammates when he takes the ball for Texas on Sunday. The right-hander hasn’t received a single run of support in his last four starts, going 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA during that stretch.
He held Baltimore to two runs, one earned, and four hits over six innings on July 7, but lost 3-0 for his second straight defeat since coming off the disabled list due to a blister on his right middle finger.
McCarthy lost his only career start versus the Angels on April 4, giving up five runs, three earned, and 10 hits over six innings in a 5-3 defeat. He has made five career appearances against them, posting a 4.34 ERA.