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Orioles-Angels Preview

AP - Sports

Three starts into the season and Dan Haren is still without a victory.

A game against the Baltimore Orioles might not help him get that elusive win.

Haren, who has had trouble with the Orioles in the past, again looks to pick up his first victory and help the Los Angeles Angels win their sixth straight home matchup with Baltimore in Sunday's series finale.

After opening with nine losses in 13 games, the Angels (6-9) have won the first two contests this weekend by identical 6-3 scores. Howie Kendrick had three hits and three RBIs in Friday's series opener, while Bobby Abreu's tiebreaking two-run single Saturday highlighted a five-run fifth inning. Los Angeles has now outscored Baltimore 36-18 while winning the last five meetings in Anaheim.

Although the Orioles have finished last in the AL East in each of the last four seasons, Haren (0-1, 4.76 ERA) has had problems facing them, going 1-1 with a 6.38 ERA in his last three starts in the series.

After posting a 6.97 ERA and yielding 20 hits over 10 1-3 innings in his first two starts this year, Haren gave up one run and five hits while walking none in 6 2-3 innings against Oakland on Tuesday and left with the lead, but didn't get a decision in a 5-3 defeat. Manager Mike Scioscia lifted the right-hander after 85 pitches, his fewest in a start since tossing 62 against Boston on July 26, 2010, a span of 51 outings.

"He was holding up, but we just didn't think it would be the right time to stretch him," Scioscia told the Angels' official website.

Haren is now in danger of going winless in his first four starts for the first time since 2006.

Baltimore (8-7) is generally off to an encouraging start, but has dropped three of four while totaling seven runs in those defeats.

Adam Jones and Matt Wieters stand out as bright spots in the Baltimore offense.

Jones, who tripled Saturday, is batting .311 on the season, while Wieters is hitting .283 with 12 RBIs. He hit his fifth homer Saturday.

New Angels slugger Albert Pujols remains mired in the longest season-opening home run drought of his career. The three-time NL MVP is batting .262 with four RBIs in 15 games and 61 at-bats.

"I definitely feel what he's going through,'' said third baseman Mark Reynolds, who is also still seeking his first homer. "We're pretty good home run hitters, and to not have one that many at-bats in is pretty tough. But once you get that first one, you quit thinking about it and just keep hitting. So I think we're both going to be fine in that aspect.''

Pujols will get his first look at Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen (1-0, 3.27) in the series finale.

After permitting four runs in 5 2-3 innings against the New York Yankees in his major league debut April 10, Chen gave up two runs - both in the sixth - and six hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 3-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday. The left-hander, a Taiwan native who pitched in Japan for the past four seasons, struck out four and walked two.

"He was effective," manager Buck Showalter told the Orioles' official website. "He came over with somewhat of a changeup, but really as a third pitch, and (pitching coach Rick Adair) and him have been working hard for a long time. Once you go through the order once or twice, you really need that third pitch to have some length to your outing."

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