Dan Haren is getting hot at that the right time for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He goes after his fifth win in six decisions on Thursday when the Angels try to complete a three-game sweep of the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium.
Haren won his second straight start on Saturday, as he held the Chicago White Sox to a pair of runs and six hits in six innings to run his record to 12-11, while lowering his ERA to 4.35.
"That's a tough lineup, power throughout," Haren said. "My split was working in the first inning -- all three strikeouts were with the split -- and I went to other pitches as it went along. Whether it's 86 or 91, I'm focusing on keeping the ball down. It's location for me."
Haren beat the Mariners the last time he faced them and is 12-6 lifetime against them with a 2.57 ERA in 22 games.
Seattle will counter with righty Hisashi Iwakuma, who is 7-5 with a 3.41 ERA. Iwakuma snapped a two-start skid on Friday versus the Texas Rangers, as he allowed three hits and eight hits in seven innings.
Iwakuma is 2-0 in three appearances (2 starts) against the Angels this season with a 1.56 ERA. He tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings to beat them back on Sept. 2.
Los Angeles continues to impress down the stretch and won its fifth straight game on Wednesday, as Torii Hunter's game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning lifted the streaking Angels to a 4-3 win.
Maicer Izturis, who hadn't tallied a hit in his last 20 pinch-hit at-bats, led off the frame with a single off Stephen Pryor (3-1) to right field. He scampered to second on a wild pitch and Peter Bourjous moved him to third with a sacrifice bunt. Following an intentional walk to Mike Trout, Iztruis scored when Hunter ripped a single to center field.
It was the seventh career walk-off hit for Hunter, who tied the game in the seventh when he flicked a two-out RBI single to right-center field.
"If anything was in the zone, I was going to hit it. It was a cutter, I'm very energetic right now, I want to win, I really want to get there (postseason) and everyone in here wants to get there too," Hunter said.
The Angels, who have won seven of their last nine, sit two games behind the Oakland Athletics for the second AL wild card spot.
Ernesto Frieri (4-2) tossed a scoreless ninth to pick up the win.
Justin Smoak smacked a solo homer for the Mariners, who have dropped three straight contests.
"Smoak swung the bat well all night. We hit the ball on the nose, but right at them," M's manager Eric Wedge said.
The Angels are 10-5 against the Mariners this season.