Royals-Angels Preview

The Associated Press

After handing Kansas City's stopper a rare defeat, the Los Angeles Angels hope their high-priced offense has finally broken out of its recent slump.

The Angels will try to build off their four-homer performance on Wednesday night when they go for their fifth win in seven games in the series finale against the Royals.

Los Angeles (15-24), which totaled two home runs over its previous four games, matched a season high Tuesday when Albert Pujols, Howie Kendrick, Josh Hamilton and Mike Trout went deep in a 6-2 win over Kansas City.

While the Angels snapped a brief two-game slide, they also ended Jeremy Guthrie's franchise-record streak, handing the right-hander his first loss in 19 starts since a 5-3 defeat to Texas on Aug. 3.

Los Angeles had hit .228 over its first 12 games this month and totaled seven runs while hitting .177 with six extra-base hits in its previous three contests.

"Up and down the lineup, we're capable of doing that,'' Hamilton said. "It's encouraging to know you've had good at-bats against a guy like (Guthrie). It's just good to create a little bit of fuel to the fire.''

Although Hamilton batted .202 with nine RBIs in his first 32 games with the Angels after signing a five-year, $125 million contract in December, he's hitting .280 with three homers and only four strikeouts over his last seven games.

The 2010 AL MVP should be feeling good about facing scheduled starter Wade Davis since he's 4 for 4 with a homer and two doubles lifetime against him.

Pujols may also be finally getting on track after going 2 for 4 in Tuesday's win with his first homer since May 2. The All-Star first baseman has hit .286 over his last seven games after batting .145 in his previous 15.

Since improving to 17-10 on May 5, the Royals (19-17) have dropped seven of nine after splitting the first two on their nine-game road trip.

Davis (2-3, 5.86 ERA), who arrived in Kansas City along with James Shields from Tampa Bay in a December trade, is 0-3 with an 8.84 ERA in his last four starts after going 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA over his first three.

"We'll just keeping working through it," manager Ned Yost said. "We've seen our hitters struggle and we kept working through it, and now they're coming back. We'll do the same thing with our pitchers.''

Davis, who will make his third career start against the Angels, struck out 13 and allowed four earned runs over 11 1-3 innings in two starts in 2010 while with the Rays.

Los Angeles counters with right-hander Barry Enright (0-1, 11.37), who makes his second start after Tommy Hanson was placed on the bereavement list Sunday following the death of his stepbrother.

Enright allowed five runs over 3 1-3 innings before leaving without a decision in a 7-5 win over the Chicago White Sox on Friday. He'll have to find a way to cool off Billy Butler, who is 7 for 9 with a homer, three doubles and seven RBIs in the first two games of this series.

Alex Gordon went 1 for 4 with a double in Tuesday's loss, but he's hitting .378 with three homers over his last nine games.

The Royals have struggled to come up with timely hits, batting .222 with runners in scoring position over their last nine games after going 0 for 6 on Tuesday.

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