Jered Weaver goes after his seventh straight win on Wednesday when the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim wrap up their three-game series with the Kansas City Royals at Angel Stadium.
Weaver won his eighth consecutive decision on Friday against Texas, as he allowed a run and six hits in seven innings to run his record to 12-1, while lowering his ERA to 2.20.
"Going up against your division rival, you want to pick up some games against them," Weaver said. "No better way to do it than to face them."
Weaver has won all six of his starts since returning from a short stint on the disabled list and has given up more than one run just once in that span, while yielding two or more in only two of his last nine assignments.
"That's what an ace brings to the table every time he gets on the mound," catcher Bobby Wilson said. "It's that competitive edge of, 'No matter what happens, I'm going to give everything I've got and I'm going to compete, and I'm going to make the pitches and come up clutch with some important pitches when we need it to the most.' "
Angel Stadium has been especially kind to Weaver, who is 7-0 in eight home starts with a major league low 0.67 ERA. He tossed eight scoreless innings to beat Kansas City there back on Opening Day and owns a lifetime 6-4 mark against the Royals with a 2.12 ERA in 11 starts.
The Royals, meanwhile, will rely on righty Luke Hochevar, who is 6-8 with a 4.91 ERA. Hochevar did not get a decision on Friday against Minnesota, but pitched well, allowing just a run and five hits in seven innings of a 2-1 loss. He also struck out six without walking a batter.
"I'm just real encouraged with the way that he threw the ball tonight," KC manager Ned Yost said. "He mixed in his curveball extremely well. It was a very good pitch for him. He got some big outs with a couple of sliders, located his fastball really well. I'm just real encouraged he could go seven innings as well as he pitched."
Hochevar beat the Angels earlier in the year, but is just 1-3 in five starts against them with a 6.83 ERA.
Kansas City evened this series on Tuesday, as Will Smith pitched seven solid innings in the Royals' 4-1 win.
Smith (2-3), who allowed a pair of hits, a run and four walks, also had four strikeouts.
"That's a tough lineup to navigate against," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "Will was wild enough early to be tough to hit, then he settled down. Seven innings against that ball club is a heck of a game."
Lorenzo Cain belted a two-run homer in the first inning, and Kansas City won for just the third time in its last 10 games.
A win today would give the Royals back-to-back victories for the first time since a season high-tying four-game winning streak June 25-29. They've dropped 16 of 22 since, including nine of 12 as the visitor.
Richards (3-2) was charged with five hits and four runs over five innings.
"After the first two innings, I told myself I have to be better at pounding the strike zone," Richards said. "It's fun to play against an old buddy. Will and I go to dinner when we can. I think I'll be buying next time."
Angels center fielder Mike Trout went 0-for-3 with a walk and saw a pair of streaks snapped. He had a hit in 12 straight contests and scored a run in 15 consecutive games to tie the MLB rookie record set by Roy Hartsfield with the Boston Braves in 1950.
The Royal took two of three from the Halos back in April and have won 10 of the last 14 in the series.