Twins-Angels Preview

The Associated Press

As the Los Angeles Angels continue to surge, Jered Weaver looks to put an end to his current winless stretch.

A home matchup with the Minnesota Twins could help make that happen.

After failing to win his last three starts, Weaver tries to remain undefeated against the Twins at home Thursday when the Angels look to complete a perfect homestand with a season-high sixth consecutive victory.

Los Angeles (43-33) has outscored Texas and Minnesota 29-15 while winning the last five at home, where they won for the 14th time in 16 games, 6-2 on Wednesday. Kole Calhoun had two RBIs and Garrett Richards pitched into the eighth inning for his fourth straight winning decision.

"'Our record and the standings are irrelevant right now,'' said manager Mike Scioscia, whose team is a season-high 10 games over .500. ''We need to continue to evolve as a team. ... It really has no bearing where you're playing or who you're playing, but how you're playing.''

Weaver (7-6, 3.47 ERA) allowed eight runs - five off three homers - in 11 1-3 innings while dropping two straight outings before giving up a run and four hits in eight innings of Saturday's 3-2, 10-inning victory over Texas. A blown save in the ninth cost Weaver a win, but he's happy with the progress.

"It's nice to be able to throw the ball the way I can throw it," he told MLB's official website.

Weaver has thrown it quite well while going 6-0 with a 2.92 ERA in seven home starts against the Twins (36-40), and even better in the last two, yielding two hits and striking out 18 over 17 scoreless innings. The only other time Weaver blanked the same opponent in three straight home starts came against Oakland over the 2012-13 seasons.

Joe Mauer is 1 for his last 13 versus Weaver, but is 9 for 24 in his last six games. He had two of the five hits Wednesday for the Twins, whose seven-game road skid is the club's longest since dropping 11 in a row Sept. 3-24, 2011.

Though Minnesota's Ricky Nolasco (4-5, 5.52) is 2-0 with a 4.30 ERA in his last five starts, he's failed to complete six innings while not factoring in the decision of the last three. He allowed two runs on two homers and four other hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 5-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Friday.

A native of nearby Corona, the right-hander is making his first appearance against the Angels. Albert Pujols is 10 for 19 with four doubles and three home runs versus Nolasco.

Pujols had two hits Wednesday after going 3 for 18 in his previous five contests.

Teammate David Freese is batting .208 with no homers and 17 strikeouts in his last 13 games, but is 6 for 12 with a double versus Nolasco.

It's likely the Twins will be minus rookie shortstop Danny Santana after he suffered a leg injury while running out a double Wednesday. In 37 career games this season, Santana is batting .328 with two homers and 16 RBIs.

"He tried to stretch it out and tried to run on it again, and said he felt it again,'' manager Ron Gardenhire said. ''So they took him in there, they checked his knee out thoroughly, and we'll see how he is in the morning. That's all we can do.''

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