Angels-Dodgers Preview

The Associated Press

The Los Angeles Angels are surging behind strong production from Mike Trout and Albert Pujols.

It's the Angels' pitching, however, that's been key to their success against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Trout and Pujols look to stay hot in support of Jerome Williams as the Angels go for a fifth win in a row Tuesday night at Chavez Ravine.

The Angels (33-29) were having a disappointing season before rolling off 15 wins in their last 19 games, including a winning streak that reached four after they rallied to beat the Dodgers 3-2 on Monday.

Now, the Angels are just 2 1/2 games back of AL West-leading Texas, the closest they've been since April 12.

Trout and Pujols have been hugely responsible for the recent success.

Trout is hitting .354 with six homers and 26 RBIs since being recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake on April 28, and he has a .444 average while driving in 14 runs in the past 15 contests.

The outfielder is a staggering 10 for 18 with six stolen bases and 10 runs scored during the Angels' current winning streak. He homered and drove in two runs in Monday's series opener.

Pujols' slow start was a big reason for the Angels' early woes, but he's posted six consecutive multihit games and is batting .375 with six homers and 19 RBIs in his last 19.

He came up big Monday, driving in Trout for the go-ahead run in the ninth as the Angels beat the Dodgers for the third straight meeting.

Other Angels have also been contributing, with Mark Trumbo collecting four homers and 12 RBIs in his last six games and Torii Hunter going 12 for 24 with four homers and 10 RBIs in his last five.

"If we want to be a good team, we want to go deep with our lineup," said manager Mike Scioscia, the former Dodgers catcher who will be honored with a bobblehead doll Tuesday.

"The way Mark's swinging the bat, it's going to give Albert more looks. We've got to keep that going."

Pitching has also been important for Scioscia's club in the Freeway Series, as the Angels staff has a 2.78 ERA during a 10-3 stretch against the Dodgers.

Williams (6-3, 4.02 ERA) will try to keep that going by rebounding from one of his worst performances of the season.

The right-hander allowed seven runs - five earned - and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings of an 8-6 loss to Seattle on Wednesday. He had been 5-1 with a 2.30 ERA in his previous six starts.

"I felt fine. Just in crucial moments I had to make a pitch and didn't make it," Williams said. "I was trying to be aggressive, but they got hits off me. You tip your cap."

Williams is 1-2 with a 5.65 ERA in five games - four starts - on the road, with the victory coming in his most recent outing as the visitor against the Mariners. He hasn't faced the Dodgers since 2005, when he was with the Chicago Cubs.

The Dodgers (39-23) still own the best record in the majors, but they've mustered 10 runs while dropping five straight at home - matching their loss total from their first 26 games at Dodger Stadium.

Perhaps Andre Ethier can help the day after agreeing to a five-year, $85 million extension, according to the Dodgers' official website. The outfielder is just 2 for 34 (.059) in his last nine games.

Aaron Harang (5-3, 3.95) will try to end the skid by winning a third consecutive start for the first time since going 4-0 to open last year with San Diego.

The veteran right-hander has won his last two - both on the road - while allowing four runs over 12 innings. He has a 1.38 ERA while splitting his last two outings at home.

Harang will be facing the Angels for the first time since taking a loss with Oakland on July 5, 2003.

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