Angels-Tigers Preview

The Associated Press

With the exception of their most recent defeat, the Detroit Tigers should be happy about the way they've collectively swung the bats of late.

The Tigers hope for another big offensive effort Thursday when they look to record a third straight winning series with a second consecutive victory over the Los Angeles Angels at Comerica Park.

One night after being held to four hits in a 13-0 loss in the second game of this four-game set, Detroit (48-44) used a four-run second inning to beat the Angels 7-2 on Wednesday. Winners in nine of their last 11, the Tigers are batting .289 and averaging 5.7 runs in that stretch.

"We're starting to click a little bit," said outfielder Brennan Boesch, who had two hits along with two RBIs Wednesday.

Prince Fielder also had two hits and two RBIs to help Detroit move within 2 1/2 games of first-place Chicago in the AL Central. Boesch has batted .417 with 11 RBIs in his last 10 games and Fielder .353 with 15 RBIs in 14 contests this month.

Scheduled Detroit starter Max Scherzer (8-5, 4.84 ERA) is 2-0 with a 3.50 ERA in his last three starts, but he allowed four runs and nine hits in five innings of an 8-6, 13-inning loss at Baltimore on Saturday.

The right-hander is facing Los Angeles for the first time since giving up eight runs - three earned - and three walks in 4 1-3 innings of a 12-8 loss June 28, 2009, while with Arizona.

Losers in eight of 12 on the road after winning 14 of their previous 15 away games, the Angels (50-42) counter with Jerome Williams, who makes his second start since spending almost a month on the disabled list after he experienced dizziness and shortness of breath from a suspected asthma attack that landed him in the hospital.

Though Williams (6-6, 4.67) felt better, he allowed five runs and two homers in six innings of a 5-3 loss Saturday at Yankee Stadium.

"I felt normal, and I'm trying to get past (the asthma) now," said Williams, who has posted a 7.54 ERA while losing his last four starts.

This will be the first time he's faced Detroit. Miguel Cabrera does have seven at-bats against him, homering for his only hit, while Fielder is 0 for 3 with two strikeouts against the right-hander.

Angels slugger Albert Pujols, who has homered in back-to-back games, is 11 for 27 (.407) with four home runs and eight RBIs in his last seven contests. He limped off the field after getting tagged out in the fourth inning Wednesday but stayed in the game.

"He's fouled a couple balls off of (his left foot), and he hit a base wrong in New York, so it bothers him from time to time," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He just took a bad stride going down to second, and it bothered him a little.

"Our trainers have been checking him out and it isn't anything we are concerned about. Guys play nicked up all the time. He's fine."

Mike Trout, who tripled for one of Los Angeles' three hits Wednesday, is batting .459 (17 for 37) in his last eight road games. He leads the AL with a .353 average.

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