With an already successful road trip about to end, the Los Angeles Angels might finally be hitting their stride.
The Angels look for a third straight victory to conclude the trip and sweep the two-game set with the Oakland Athletics on Tuesday night.
Los Angeles (11-13) won 5-2 on Monday to improve to 4-2 on an abbreviated seven-game swing. The Angels have won five of their last seven since starting 6-11.
The Angels also are in position to win this set after dropping two of three to the A’s (9-14) to open the season in Anaheim.
Napoli is batting .364 this season and is 11-for-17 with four RBIs in five games on the trip. The catcher has reached base 13 times in his last 14 plate appearances.
Hunter, meanwhile, has driven in five runs over his last two contests and has hit safely in all four games against Oakland.
“We have a lot of guys swinging the bat well now,” manager Mike Scioscia told the Angels’ official Web site.
Batting .311 as a team on the trip, Los Angeles looks to again get the best of Oakland’s scheduled starter Dallas Braden, who is trying to win his third consecutive start.
Braden (3-2, 2.10 ERA) allowed three runs and nine hits in six innings of a 3-0 opening-day loss at Los Angeles on April 6.
“If you’re gonna pitch in the No. 1 spot, it’s gotta be better than that,” Braden told the Athletics’ official Web site of his last start against the Angels.
The left-hander, who is 1-1 with a 2.81 ERA in three starts against the Angels, allowed five hits while striking out six and walking four in five scoreless innings of a 4-2 win at Texas on Thursday. He’s yielded two runs while walking 10 in his last 18 innings over a three-start span.
The Angels counter with Shane Loux (1-2, 5.24), who is coming off his second career victory - and first in more than 5 1/2 years.
The right-hander allowed a run and five hits in six innings of a 3-2 win at Baltimore on Wednesday. Loux’s previous victory came on Sept. 24, 2003, against Kansas City while with Detroit.
“I don’t want to wait six years for the next one, I’ll tell you that,” Loux said.
Loux spent 2004 in the minors and didn’t play in 2005 after undergoing elbow surgery. He was with Kansas City’s minor league system in 2006 and Seattle’s in 2007. Last season, he appeared in seven games for the Angels.
“I think he has confidence that his stuff plays in the big leagues,” Scoiscia said.
Loux will make his first start against Oakland after allowing a run in 5 2-3 innings of relief against the A’s.
Matt Holliday went 0-for-4, one day after going 0-for-7 in an 8-7, 15-inning loss at Seattle on Sunday. Holliday, who batted no lower than .307 in each of his last four seasons with Colorado, is hitting .223.