It's too bad the LA Angels of Anaheim couldn't play the Boston Red Sox all the time.
Coming off their second sweep of the Red Sox in less than 10 days, the Angels will begin a six-game road trip Friday with the first of three straight matchups with the Seattle Mariners from Safeco Field.
The Angels broke out the brooms on Boston with Thursday's 5-2 triumph thanks to Zack Greinke's seven strong innings and some help from the bullpen. Greinke allowed two runs and five hits, struck out seven and walked two, while Kevin Jepsen and Ernesto Frieri each tossed a scoreless inning of relief. Frieri posted his 16th save in the process.
"I had better location tonight," Greinke said. "They popped up my fastball a lot, but they were in the park and the outfielders were able to run them down."
Albert Pujols had two hits and two RBI, Torii Hunter went 3-for-4 with a pair of runs scored and Mark Trumbo got into the mix with two hits and an RBI for the Angels, who are 3 1/2 games behind for one of the two final Wild Card berths and 8 1/2 games in back of Texas for the AL West lead.
Los Angeles has won seven of nine games and is scheduled to visit Oakland for three games after this set. The club hopes second baseman Howie Kendrick will be ready for tonight after he left Thursday's game at Angel Stadium with a right knee ailment.
"It's just a pain on the inside of my knee," Kendrick said on the Angels' website. "I was running off the field, it gave out, and that's about all I could tell you. It just didn't feel good."
The Angels have lost each of Dan Haren's last four starts, but have faith in sending him to the mound tonight. Haren is 0-2 with a 6.27 earned run average in that time and pitched well in a no-decision at Detroit last Saturday, when he was reached for two runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings.
Haren, who is 8-10 with 4.82 ERA in 23 starts, had won four of five trips to the hill before his recent winless streak. He is 4-7 with a 4.94 ERA in 13 home starts this season and lost to the Mariners on Aug. 11 in a 7-4 setback. He lasted only 3 1/3 innings and gave up seven runs -- five earned. He is 1-1 in two starts against Seattle and 11-6 with a 2.69 ERA in 21 career starts.
Seattle is back home following a seven-game (3-4) road trip against the White Sox and Twins. The Mariners won three of four in Minnesota thanks to solid pitching and Blake Beavan joined Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma as winning hurlers during the set.
Beavan surrendered two runs in the first inning and scattered five hits through seven frames, before three relievers closed the door. Charlie Furbush, Stephen Pryor and Tom Wilhelmsen combined to allowed two runs over the final two innings, with Wilhelmsen notching his 21st save.
"Beavan really struggled in that first inning but he really righted himself," Seattle manager Eric Wedge said. "He mixed his pitches better, developed some confidence in his secondary pitches and got us really deep in the ball game."
The Mariners are scheduled to host Boston and Oakland on their nine-game residency and hope to have outfielder Michael Saunders in the lineup tonight. Saunders has missed six games since straining his right groin last Friday against the White Sox and is batting .246 with 14 homers and 43 RBI.
Kevin Millwood hasn't done much lately to help the Mariners. He is 1-7 with a 4.63 earned run average in his last 16 starts, with Seattle going 5-11 in that time. Millwood will try to get back on track tonight and was last in action Sunday in a 4-3 loss against the White Sox in which he gave up a go-ahead home run before rain postponed the game.
Millwood is only 4-11 in 25 starts this season to go along with a 4.28 ERA and hasn't faced the Angels in 2012. The veteran right-hander has faced the Angels 17 times in his career and sports a winning record at 6-5 with a 3.98 ERA.
Seattle has won three of the last four meetings with the Angels, who are 6-4 in the season series and swept a four-game set at Safeco Field from May 24-27.
Anaheim has won five in a row at Seattle.