The Angels might have a better chance of accomplishing that feat when the Mariners visit Anaheim for a three-game set beginning Monday night.
After falling seven games behind Texas on Aug. 17, Los Angeles (76-64) cut its deficit to 2 1/2 by reeling off a season-best six straight wins. The Angels, though, couldn’t keep that momentum going during a subsequent road trip to face the Rangers and Mariners.
They dropped two of three to Texas then barely salvaged a four-game split against Seattle (58-81).
A return home to face a struggling Minnesota club helped Los Angeles bounce back, but it remains 3 1/2 games back of the Rangers after winning the final two of a three-game set.
“In a way, you know (what Texas is doing) but you can’t put it in the back of your mind. You can’t worry about them,” pitcher Joel Pineiro(notes) told the Angels’ official website following a 4-1 victory Sunday. “We have to play our game. Good pitching is going to keep us in ballgames, and we’re going to be able to score some runs once in a while.”
Los Angeles will try to take another step toward catching Texas with its ninth win in 10 home games and 19th in its last 22 at Angel Stadium versus Seattle, which was swept in Oakland this weekend.
The right-hander is 3-1 with a 1.62 ERA in his last six matchups with Seattle, but he suffered the loss in a 2-1 defeat Wednesday at Safeco Field - his second in a row overall after winning seven of his previous eight decisions.
“I go out there and do what I can,” Haren said. “I haven’t had the best of luck lately.”
Los Angeles scored eight runs off the left-hander, who is the son of an Angels scout, in four-plus innings of a 13-6 victory. Among the seven hits he gave up were a pair of home runs to fellow rookie Mike Trout(notes).
“A little bit of it is nerves, but you can’t make excuses,” Vasquez told the Mariners’ official website. “First time up here you’re trying to get out of the gate the right way and it just hasn’t happened.
“But it’s a game of adjustments and that’s as much mental as physical. You have to be able to stay strong and positive mentally and that usually allows you to relax and do the best of your ability.”
For a better performance, Vasquez might have to pitch a little more carefully not only to Trout but to a couple of other Angels hitters. Erick Aybar(notes) is riding a 14-game hit streak and Torii Hunter(notes), batting .382 in his last 30 games, had an RBI single to chase Vasquez from Tuesday’s win.