Astros-Angels Preview


The Los Angeles Angels are surging, and on the verge of their longest winning streak at home in seven seasons.

They'll go for their seventh win in a row there Friday night when Tommy Hanson's first start in nearly four weeks will be against the improving Houston Astros.

The Angels (24-30) saw their run in Anaheim reach six Thursday with a 3-2 victory over the Dodgers, giving them 10 wins in 12 games overall.

"You can see everybody's hungry to win," said third baseman Chris Nelson, who had his first two hits and RBI since being acquired off waivers from the New York Yankees two weeks ago.

The Angels' last seven-game home winning streak was Aug. 5-22, 2006.

They'll now play four against an Astros team that just took three of four from Colorado. Houston (17-37) won the last two in Denver for its first set of back-to-back victories since May 7-8 against the Angels.

"We're finding ways to win," manager Bo Porter said after a 7-5 victory Thursday.

The Astros won a season-high three straight April 9-12. The last game of that stretch was against Hanson (2-1, 3.86 ERA), who gave up five runs in five innings with five walks in a 5-0 defeat.

The right-hander will be taking the ball for the first time since throwing five innings of three-run ball in a 5-4 loss to Baltimore on May 4. That was Hanson's second outing after returning from the bereavement list, but he needed more time to deal with the loss of his stepbrother and the Angels placed him on the restricted list May 10.

Hanson has been training at the team's complex in Arizona.

He'll face a suddenly dangerous Astros lineup that includes J.D. Martinez, Chris Carter and Jason Castro. Martinez has gone 8 for 13 in the last three games after setting a career high with four hits Thursday.

Carter, who hit a three-run homer in the win, has three home runs and seven RBIs against the Angels this season.

Castro, the AL player of the week, is 13 for 21 with two homers and five RBIs in his last seven games. He'll likely be behind the plate Friday with Dallas Keuchel (1-2, 5.09) on the hill.

The left-hander is trying to move past a 6-2 loss to Oakland on Sunday in which he yielded six runs - four earned - and a season-high 10 hits in six innings.

Keuchel has gone 1-1 with a 5.92 ERA in four starts since joining the rotation.

This will be his first start against the Angels. He gave up one run in 1 1-3 inning of relief in a 7-6 home win over Los Angeles on May 7.

It's uncertain if he'll have to face Josh Hamilton, who has been out of the lineup for two of the last three games with back spasms. Hamilton, who entered Thursday's game in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement, has half of his eight homers this season against the Astros.

Hamilton also leads the Angels with six RBIs as these teams have split six games in 2013.

Los Angeles took two of three in Houston's last visit April 12-14 to improve to 4-2 all-time as the home team in this series.