Mariners-Angels Preview

The Associated Press

Dan Haren has been solid since his return from the disabled list, and he has a very good chance of extending that run against the Seattle Mariners.

Haren will try to help the Los Angeles Angels win their second straight Saturday night when he looks to continue his mastery over the Mariners.

After posting an 8.67 ERA in five starts June 9-July 3, Haren (8-8, 4.44 ERA) landed on the 15-day DL with lower back stiffness. Since his return following the All-Star break, he's gone 2-0 with a 2.00 ERA in three starts.

Haren was in line for the win against Chicago on Sunday after giving up one run and four hits in six innings, but the bullpen failed to protect the lead and Los Angeles fell 4-2.

He threw 112 pitches, his most since 126 against Seattle on May 24.

"I was a little tentative at first, just trying to get past that mental block," Haren said. "After the first inning, I felt completely normal, which was a good thing, keeping the ball down, changing speeds."

Seattle probably isn't looking forward to facing a rejuvenated Haren. The right-hander had his best outing of the season against the Mariners in May, pitching a four-hitter while striking out a career-high 14 in a 3-0 victory.

Haren's ability to shut down Seattle is nothing new. He has recorded his most wins against the Mariners, going 11-5 with a 2.43 ERA. Over the last eight meetings, Haren is 5-1 with a 1.67 ERA.

He'll now try to help the Angels (60-53) win consecutive games for the first time this month following a 6-5 victory Friday.

Mike Trout tied a career high with five RBIs, hitting a three-run homer and a two-run sacrifice fly, and Peter Bourjos scored on a wild pitch in the ninth.

"It doesn't matter who's on the mound. He's not afraid. He's ready to go. And that's what I love about him," outfielder Torii Hunter said of Trout. "He's a bulldog."

Trout, whose previous five-RBI game came against Seattle last year, leads the AL with a .345 batting average.

Trout helped the Angels win for the third time in nine August games. Over the previous eight, their bullpen was 1-5 with an 11.76 ERA, but it allowed one hit in 2 2-3 innings while striking out five.

Los Angeles is 6-2 versus Seattle this year and has won 10 of the last 14 matchups at home.

The Mariners (51-63) have lost five straight as they wind down a nine-game road trip. Their starters are 0-3 with a 6.30 ERA during the skid.

Looking to end the losing streak, Seattle will hand the ball to rookie Hisashi Iwakuma (2-3, 4.20).

The right-hander is 1-2 with a 3.71 ERA in six starts since joining the rotation July 2. He gave up four runs and seven hits in five innings of a 6-2 loss to New York on Sunday.

Iwakuma allowed one hit over three scoreless innings against the Angels on June 5.