The Angels look to complete a sweep of the struggling Phillies as the clubs conclude their weekend set on Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.
For the second straight night, Los Angeles (45-30) had more than enough offense and solid pitching to beat Philadelphia 6-2 on Saturday to move within a game of a sweep after dropping consecutive home series to Atlanta and the New York Mets.
Vladimir Guerrero hit a pair of solo home runs and Eric Aybar also homered and had two RBIs for the Angels, who scored five runs the final three innings Saturday and have outscored the Phillies (42-34) 13-3 in the set.
It was the 35th career multihomer game and second of 2008 for Guerrero, who has hit safely in 12 straight games while batting .458 (22-for-48) with six home runs and 12 RBIs.
“He can hit them out of any park,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Guerrero, who has three homers in his last two games and 31 with 84 RBIs against Philadelphia, his most against any team in both categories.
After handling Philadelphia starters Adam Eaton and Brett Myers in the first two contests, Los Angeles should be in for a tougher challenge while trying to do the same against Phillies’ ace Cole Hamels (7-4, 3.23 ERA).
Hamels looks for a third straight win and help Philadelphia avoid extending its season-high losing streak to five games. The Phillies have lost eight of their last 11 contests and seen their lead over Florida in the NL East trimmed to one game.
The left-hander allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings of the Phillies’ most recent victory, 8-2 over Boston on Monday.
“He’s not the type of guy you want to fall behind,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “He’s terrific.”
The left-hander, who is 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA in his last three games, will make his first appearance against the Angels on Sunday.
Los Angeles counters with Jered Weaver (6-7, 4.73), who struggled in his last outing by giving up six runs and eight hits in 6 1-3 innings of a 9-6 loss to the Mets on Monday.
“He’s not going to be locked in every time he goes out there,” said Scioscia of the right-hander, who has never faced Philadelphia.
“We’ve got to play much better,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, whose team is 2-6 in interleague play. “Right now, we’re not hitting enough.”
Jayson Werth hit his 10th homer Saturday for the Phillies, who played while slumping Chase Utley had the night off. Utley, second in the majors with 22 homers, is hitless in his last 23 at-bats and batting .158 in his past 15 games.