Rangers hope Darvish gets on track against Angels

Yu Darvish tries to correct his road woes on Saturday afternoon when the Texas Rangers face off against AL West-rival Los Angeles Angels in the second contest of a three-game series.

Darvish's stats are respectable on the season with a 10-6 record and a 3.96 ERA with 121 strikeouts in 109 innings. Away from The Ballpark in Arlington however, the Japanese phenom has struggled, going 3-5 with a 4.42 ERA while walking 37 batters in 55 innings.

The right-hander's last start was one of his worst of the season as he allowed a career-high seven earned runs over 6 1/3 innings of work in a 7-0 loss to the Mariners on July 14.

"You put guys on the bags, and someone will find a way to get a base hit," Texas manager Ron Washington said of Darvish's control issues. "The guys that were on the bags ... were on for free. Those are the types of things Yu has to continue to work on."

The Angles will counter with Ervin Santana, who's no stranger to struggles himself this season, sporting a 4-9 record with a 5.60 ERA.

The veteran right-hander has allowed five earned runs or more in five of his last eight starts dating back to May 30, though he surrendered just two earned runs in six innings of work in his last start against Detroit on July 16.

You truly never know what you're going to get out of Santana. He is just as likely to show signs of greatness (tossing a one-hit shutout over Arizona on June 16) as he is to implode (gave up eight earned runs in 1 1/3 innings of work on July 4 against Cleveland).

The Angels did their part in gaining ground on the division-leading Rangers in the series opener on Friday, winning 6-1.

Elvis Andrus belted his second home run in the top of the first to give the Rangers a 1-0 lead, but that would be the only run they would score on the night.

Albert Pujols went 3-for-4 for the Halos and Mark Trumbo went 2-for-4 while belting his 27th home run of the season, which puts him just one behind Josh Hamilton for the major league lead.

Mike Trout's historic rookie season continued, as he went 2-for-4 with his 15th homer of the season. His .354 batting average is tops in the American League.

"We're only five games back now, so it's a real big deal." said Trout, who scored a run in his 12th straight game, one off the AL rookie record. "Every game against (the Rangers) down the stretch is going to be big. We're going to play them a lot, so we just have to keep making plays."

Jered Weaver (12-1) settled down after that first-inning run to pitch seven strong innings. Weaver has emerged as a legitimate Cy Young contender, as he's top two in the league in both wins and ERA (2.20).

Derek Holland pitched into the seventh innings, but was knocked around for nine hits and six earned runs, and he failed to record a strikeout for Texas.

Texas has won 11 of the past 17 meetings between the teams, including seven of 11 encounters in Anaheim over that stretch. Since the 2009 campaign, the Rangers lead the series by a 36-28 count.