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Wed, Jun 5, 2013 - 7:05 PM ET
 

Cubs-Angels Preview

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With the AL's worst team out of town, the Los Angeles Angels got back in the win column against one of the NL's bottom feeders.

Giving the ball to red-hot Jason Vargas should put them in good position to start a winning streak.

Vargas will try to win his career-best sixth straight decision Wednesday night when the Angels look to complete a two-game sweep of the visiting Chicago Cubs.

Los Angeles (26-33) had won 10 of 12, including six in a row at home, before getting swept by a Houston team that was 20 games below .500 heading into that four-game series.

The Angels, though, took a positive step following that embarrassing showing Tuesday when Albert Pujols hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth inning of a 4-3 victory that snapped the four-game skid.

Los Angeles is hoping the home run - his first in 11 games - can get Pujols on a hot streak. The three-time MVP had been 3 for 21 with one extra-base hit in his previous six games.

"Numbers-wise, it's nowhere where I want to be. But I feel like I'm one swing away from turning things around,'' said Pujols, who is hitting .244 with nine homers and 35 RBIs.

Now Pujols will try to help the Angels wrap up their eight-game homestand with a .500 record behind Vargas (5-3, 3.34 ERA).

After going 0-3 with a 4.85 ERA in five starts during April, the left-hander went 5-0 with a 2.30 ERA in his six starts in May - all Los Angeles victories.

"I faced Vargas for years when he was with Seattle, and you know what you're going to get,'' said second baseman Howie Kendrick, who is 6 for 11 in his last three games. "I mean, the guy finds a way to get it done.''

Vargas is 2-0 with a 3.46 ERA in four career starts against the Cubs, though he hasn't faced them since 2010 while with Seattle.

David DeJesus, who is hitless in nine career at-bats against Vargas, is batting .195 in his last 11 games overall.

Teammate Starlin Castro hopes to break out of his own funk, going 1 for 19 over his last five contests.

Tuesday's defeat included another dismal performance by a Chicago (23-33) bullpen that has two losses, two blown saves and a 13.50 ERA during the team's three-game losing streak.

Scheduled starter Matt Garza (1-0, 3.38) will try to eliminate the bullpen from the equation as he makes his fourth start since coming off the disabled list with a strained back muscle.

The right-hander earned his first victory since July 15 when he allowed two runs and six hits over seven innings to beat Arizona 7-2 Friday at Wrigley Field.

"I'm pumped to get it out of the way,'' Garza said.

Garza, who spent his first five seasons in the AL, has given up 10 runs and 13 hits - four homers - over 11 innings in two career starts in Anaheim.

He's limited Josh Hamilton to two hits in 15 career at-bats, while Pujols is 2 for 9 in their matchups.

Alberto Callaspo is 5 for 34 (.147) over his last 11 games, but has four hits - including a homer - in six at-bats against Garza.

The third baseman will have to clean up his defense after his fourth error in three games led to a pair of unearned runs Tuesday.

Tagged: Angels, Cubs, Albert Pujols, Jason Vargas, Matt Garza

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