An injury hasn’t cooled off Albert Pujols’ bat.
The Seattle Mariners, however, will try to do that again.
Pujols looks to continue his torrid hitting as the Los Angeles
Angels go for an eighth win in 10 tries Friday night when they open
this three-game set with the surging Mariners.
Pujols sat out last weekend’s series at Detroit with tightness
in his right calf, and Los Angeles (69-62) dropped two of
The injury hasn’t hampered him at the plate. The All-Star first
baseman is batting .405 with five homers and 14 RBIs in the past 11
games, and went 5 for 11 while driving in four runs in a three-game
sweep of Boston after returning to the lineup.
Pujols had two hits, including a two-run double in the opening
inning, as the Angels beat the Red Sox 5-2 in the series finale
He hasn’t been as productive against Seattle (64-68), going 4
for 28 over the past seven meetings. Pujols went 0 for 12 while Los
Angeles dropped two of three at home from Aug. 10-12.
The Angels, though, swept a four-game set at Safeco Field from
May 24-27, and are trying to win six straight there for the first
time since a seven-game run bridging the 2004 and 2005 seasons.
Los Angeles has won seven of nine ahead of this visit, and
trails Baltimore by 3 1/2 games for the AL’s second wild-card
“Right now, we’re playing like it’s all or nothing, and we’re
all in,” said Torii Hunter, who has six hits in two games.
Dan Haren (8-10, 4.82 ERA) is expected to get the ball for his
final chance to win this month. The right-hander is 0-2 with a 6.27
ERA in four starts in August, including a 7-4 defeat to the
Mariners on Aug. 11.
In that meeting, the right-hander was tagged for seven runs with
three walks in 3 1-3 innings, but he’s been much better at Safeco.
He’s 5-2 with a 1.99 ERA in 10 games there, tossing a four-hitter
with a career-high 14 strikeouts in a 3-0 win May 24.
The Mariners may be at the bottom of the AL West, but they’ve
won 11 of 15 after taking three of four from Minnesota with
Thursday’s 5-4 win in the series finale.
The run has created a sense of optimism.
“They’ve gained a great deal of experience this year,” manager
Eric Wedge said. “We’ve had a lot of tough games, a lot of tight
games … Their heartbeat’s a lot better.”
Kyle Seager has been one of those bright spots. The third
baseman is hitting .321 with two homers and nine RBIs in four
games, but he’s 4 for 27 while plating two runs in eight career
home meetings with Los Angeles.
Kevin Millwood (4-11, 4.28) might be looking for some help from
the lineup after going 0-3 with a 5.76 ERA in his past three trips
to the mound, getting backed by an average of 2.43 runs.
“He won the ERA title for us (in Cleveland in 2005 at 2.86) and
went 9-11, so it’s not his first go-round at this,” Wedge said. “I
feel bad because you want your pitchers to be rewarded when they go
out and pitch well. And he’s pitched so much better than his record
Millwood has won his last two starts against the Angels with a
1.06 ERA, but he’s facing them for the first time since Aug. 28,
2010. In that meeting, he scattered six hits in eight scoreless
innings with Baltimore.