The Los Angeles Angels have guaranteed they will leave Texas in first place in the AL West, but they clearly feel they are capable of more.
The Angels look to record their second seven-game winning streak this month Tuesday night when they try to hand the stumbling Rangers a fourth straight loss.
Los Angeles (42-32) moved 2 1/2 games ahead of Texas (40-35) with a 5-2 victory Monday in the opener of this three-game series. The Angels were swept in their last visit to Arlington from May 15-17, but are currently one of baseball’s hottest teams as winners of 13 of 16.
“Over the last month, we’ve been playing better defense, our pitchers have been getting the job done and timely hitting,” Angels center fielder Torii Hunter(notes) said. “We’re on all cylinders right now.”
Los Angeles won a season-high seven straight June 12-19.
The Rangers held a share of first place for 52 straight days before relinquishing the division lead to the Angels on Saturday. Texas has lost three straight and eight of 11, and is only one game ahead of third-place Seattle.
Juan Rivera(notes) and Kendry Morales(notes) hit back-to-back home runs as part of a four-run sixth inning Monday that put Los Angeles ahead to stay. The Angels got a total of six hits, four RBIs and four runs from the middle third of their batting order - Vladimir Guerrero(notes), Rivera and Morales.
Guerrero is a career. 395 hitter against Texas with 63 RBIs in 88 games.
Saunders gave up a season-high seven runs over 5 1-3 innings in a 10-8 loss on May 15 to fall to 0-4 with a 10.29 ERA in four career starts in Arlington.
The left-hander looks to win a third straight decision after he improved to 2-0 with a 2.61 ERA in his last three outings after allowing one run in six-plus innings last Wednesday in an 11-3 victory over Colorado.
Saunders will have to be careful with Rangers leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler(notes), who is 8 for 18 with three homers and seven RBIs against him. Third baseman Michael Young(notes) is 8 for 22 in his career against the southpaw.
The Rangers snapped a three-game skid with Feldman on the mound Thursday, beating Arizona 9-8 in 12 innings. The right-hander allowed three runs in six innings.
Feldman’s lone start against the Angels this year came May 17 as he yielded four singles in six innings, and did not get a decision in a 4-0 victory. He is 1-2 with a 6.18 ERA in five starts versus Los Angeles.