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Angels return home to face Red Sox

The last time the LA Angels of Anaheim were at home they were swept in four games by the Tampa Bay Rays.

The Angels are back in Anaheim and will open a three-game set versus the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday. They are in the hunt for a postseason berth, sitting 4 1/2 games off the final wild card spot, and hope to have slugger Albert Pujols back in the lineup for this opener.

Pujols has been sidelined since last Wednesday because of right calf inflammation suffered in a 7-3 win at Boston's Fenway Park. Pujols is in his first season with the Angels and is batting .387 with four homers and 10 RBI over his past eight games.

"When Albert's ready to play, he's going to play. We're not holding him out to say he's ready for the stretch," Angels manager Mike Scioscia told the team's website Monday. "If he was available, he would play this week."

Scioscia's club lost the last two portions of a three-game weekend series in Detroit following a four-game win streak, and is coming off Sunday's 5-2 setback to the Tigers in which starting pitcher Ervin Santana was banged around for four runs and five hits in seven innings.

"It was a good outing," Santana said. "Just a couple of bad pitches."

Mike Trout scored the Angels' only run in the first inning and became the second rookie in franchise history to cross home 100 times. Kendrys Morales added two hits and an RBI for the Halos.

Hoping to end a string of seven losses in nine tries at home will be Angels ace Jered Weaver. The AL Cy Young Award candidate is tied with five other pitchers with 16 wins and is hoping to be the first to No. 17. Weaver ended a personal two-game slide his last time out in Wednesday's win over the Red Sox, as he delivered seven innings of two-run ball to improve to 16-3 in 23 starts and keep his earned run average at 2.74.

Weaver, who notched his career-best sixth straight road win, has made 12 career starts against the Red Sox, going just 3-5 with a 4.23 ERA. The lanky right-hander is 8-2 in 11 trips to the home mound this season and 2-2 with a 1.65 ERA in five career starts against the Red Sox at Angel Stadium.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox will kick off a nine-game road trip this evening against the Angels, Athletics and Mariners, and went 3-4 on a seven-game homestand versus Los Angeles and Kansas City.

The Red Sox, who are nine games off the pace in the wild card, took three of four matchups with the Royals and wrapped up the series with Monday's 5-1 victory behind a strong return from Daisuke Matsuzaka. The Japanese right- hander came off the disabled list because of a neck issue and surrendered only one unearned run in seven innings with six strikeouts and two walks.

Clayton Mortensen, Vicente Padilla and Andrew Bailey went the rest of the way to preserve Matsuzaka's first win since last May.

"He gave us what we needed, 100 pitches, seven innings, five hits," Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine said of Dice-K. "It's a good outing."

Jacoby Ellsbury added two hits, including a solo homer, and scored twice for the Red Sox. Cody Ross ended with two hits and three runs batted in.

In other Boston news, veteran slugger David Ortiz was placed on the disabled list because of his strained right Achilles and hopes to return this season. He was expected to receive a platelet-rich plasma injection on Monday.

"That helps you heal a little faster," Ortiz said on Boston's website. "The doctor said there's a 60-70 percent chance of that to help. I had that done before, and I believe in it big time. The thing is that we didn't get it done before because we thought it wasn't needed in my case, but at this stage, this point, I've got to get through it."

Red Sox closer Alfredo Aceves served the final portion of his three-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team, and is expected to join the Red Sox in California. Aceves was perturbed when Andrew Bailey was called on to close out a win over the Royals on Friday.

Clay Buchholz draws the start for Boston Tuesday and is aiming to bounce back from his previous outing, a 7-3 loss to the Angels in which he permitted all seven runs and 12 hits in 5 1/3 innings. Buchholz was 3-0 in his previous six trips to the mound and fell to 11-4 with a 4.47 ERA in 22 starts.

Buchholz, a right-hander, is 5-3 with a 4.81 ERA in eight lifetime starts against the Angels and 5-2 in 10 road assignments.

The Angels swept the Red Sox in three games at Fenway Park from Aug. 21-23, but have dropped the last seven matchups as the host in this series. Boston hasn't lost at Angel Stadium since May 14, 2009.