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Rangers-Angels Preview

AP - Sports

The Texas Rangers are alone atop the AL West.

A three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels may keep them there.

The Rangers will try to begin padding their slim division lead by going for a record winning streak against the Angels on Friday night.

Texas (80-59) leads the West by one-half game on second-place Oakland, despite losing two of three to the A's following Wednesday's 11-4 road defeat.

The tight race is reminiscent of last year, which ended with the Rangers getting swept in a three-game series that relegated them to the wild card.

"There are no breaks," second baseman Ian Kinsler told the team's official website. "You have to be ready to win every day. It doesn't matter how you go about it. You have to pitch well, score runs and play defense."

The Rangers don't seem to have much trouble with any of that against the Angels, winning 10 of 12 season. That includes a seven-game winning streak, matching their longest in the all-time series set against the California Angels from 1987-88.

Texas is hitting .323 with 10 homers while averaging 7.7 runs during the current streak.

Adrian Beltre has been a big contributor with a .408 average, four homers and 10 RBIs this year and is 13 for 25 with three homers and nine RBIs in the past six meetings.

Beltre may be in for another big performance since he's 11 for 30 (.367) with four doubles and one homer versus Angels starter and former teammate C.J. Wilson.

The Rangers will turn to Matt Garza (3-2, 4.04 ERA), who is looking to build on his latest performance. The right-hander allowed one run and three hits with nine strikeouts in seven innings while not getting a decision in a 2-1 win over Minnesota.

He had a 5.81 ERA over his previous four starts.

"I got back into a nice tempo and a nice rhythm," Garza told the team's official website. "I wasn't pitching bad, but I got back in rhythm and want to keep doing it every time out."

Facing the Angels may not help since he's 0-1 with a 5.45 ERA in six career starts.

Los Angeles salvaged a split of its four-game series against Tampa Bay with a 6-2 win Thursday but has lost 11 of 14 at home.

Turning to Wilson (14-6, 3.35) would seem to help since he's 6-0 with a 3.09 ERA over his last 10 starts. However, that includes his latest rough performance against Texas, giving up six runs and 11 hits in four innings of a 14-11 road loss July 30.

The left-hander, a member of the Rangers from 2005-11, is 0-2 with an 8.63 ERA in six starts against his former club.

Wilson enters this matching coming off a 5-3 win at Milwaukee, but he wasn't very sharp while allowing three runs in six innings.

"He made key pitches when he had to," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He kept us in the game and gave us a chance to win."

Josh Hamilton, a Ranger from 2008-12, is batting .339 over his last 16 games after getting two hits, two runs and one RBI on Thursday. He was 0 for 16 last month when the Angels were swept in a three-game home set by the Rangers.

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