The Los Angeles Angels are still running away with the AL West Division, but they’re in a small funk.
The Angels look to avoid losing the first series in more than five weeks when they wrap up their three-game set with the lowly Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday.
Los Angeles (70-43), owners of the best record in the majors, has a 10 1/2-game lead over second-place Texas in the West—the largest of the six division leaders—but it has been scuffling a bit lately.
The Angels fell to the Orioles 3-0 on Tuesday, their third loss in four games after winning 14 of their previous 16.
Los Angeles managed only two hits Tuesday, when it was shut out for the fifth time this season, and first time at home.
The Angels, who lost home series to Atlanta and the New York Mets, have not lost a home set to an AL opponent since dropping two of three Texas April 4-6, their first home series of the season. Los Angeles has not dropped a series since losing two of three to the Los Angeles Dodgers June 27-29
All-Star Ervin Santana (12-5, 3.38 ERA) looks to get the Angels back in the win column when he takes the ball.
Santana gave up five hits and struck out eight in eight innings of a 1-0 win over the New York Yankees on Friday, his first victory since July 12. The right-hander went 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA in his first two starts after the All-Star break, including giving up five runs and seven hits in five innings of a 5-2 loss at Baltimore on July 27.
Santana is 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA in six career starts versus the Orioles (54-58).
Baltimore’s Chris Waters limited the Angels to one hit over eight innings in his major league debut as the Orioles won for the sixth time in nine games after losing their previous five.
“I don’t care how much of a scouting report you have. When you step in the box the ball is moving, it’s different than words,” said Torii Hunter, who had a 15-game hitting streak come to an end Tuesday. “He didn’t throw the offspeed stuff until the second time around. He threw all fastballs and one changeup the first time around. … He knew what he was doing.”
Baltimore scored two runs in the first inning Tuesday on a run-scoring double by Nick Markakis and a RBI single by Melvin Mora. Markakis is batting .429 (12-for-28) with two doubles and six RBIs in his last seven games.
Garrett Olson (8-5, 5.67) looks to win three consecutive starts for the first time in his career for the Orioles in the series finale.
Olson has yielded five runs in 14 1-3 innings in winning his last two starts after going 0-2 with a 10.53 ERA in his previous four outings. On Friday, the left-hander allowed three runs and a season-high 11 hits in a career-high 8 1-3 innings of a 10-5 win over Seattle.
Olson, who also won back-to-back starts on May 10 and 16, is tied with Jeremy Guthrie for the team lead in victories.
Olson opposed Santana and the Angels on July 27, and gave up two runs and seven hits in six innings to get the win.