Doug Fister will try to record his fourth victory in as many starts this season as his Detroit Tigers conclude a three-game series on Sunday afternoon against the Los Angeles of Anaheim, who look for the sweep and their longest winning streak of the season.
Fister has posted a 2.70 earned run average in opening the campaign 3-0, his first three-start winning streak since July 7-18 of last year. He last won four straight starts in September of 2011, when he won all five of his outings that month for the Tigers as part of a seven-decision winning streak.
After lasting eight innings versus Toronto on April 11, the right-hander scattered two runs, four hits and a walk over seven inning of a 6-2 victory at the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday. He struck out five and has fanned 12 to just four walks in 20 innings this season.
"I felt pretty good, felt like I kept the ball down for the most part in most cases, was able to throw my breaking stuff over," said Fister. "But the biggest thing was defense, those guys made some great plays."
The 29-year-old is 2-3 lifetime versus the Angels with a 3.49 ERA in seven starts, but dominated the club in his only appearance against them last season. In a home meeting on July 18, Fister struck out 10 Angels hitters and scattered a run and two hits over eight frames of a 7-2 win.
Angels starter C.J. Wilson took the loss on that day and hopes to do better versus Fister today. He allowed seven runs over six innings in Detroit, but did rebound to beat the Tigers at home on Sept. 8. The lefty was charged with just one unearned run on four hits over 7 2/3 innings.
Wilson allowed eight earned runs over 12 innings in a pair of no-decisions to begin 2013 before beating the Houston Astros on Sunday. The 32-year-old held the club to a run on five hits and four walks over six innings.
"I had confidence today with all my pitches," Wilson remarked. "I had extra in the tank. I had the strength to throw a lot of pitches. I was able to keep them off balance."
The Angels have kept the Tigers off balance through the first two games of this series, winning Friday's opener 8-1 before using a big first inning to claim yesterday's meeting 10-0.
Mike Trout highlighted a nine-run first inning with his first career grand slam, while Peter Bourjos had three hits, two runs scored and an RBI. Howie Kendrick also drove in a pair of runs.
Angels starter Garrett Richards, meanwhile, limited the Tigers to two hits over seven innings and matched his career high with eight strikeouts while issuing no walks.
"I was pleased with the way I attacked the zone," Richards said. "The guys played great defense behind me and the offense came alive. You couldn't ask for anything more."
The Angels have now won four of six overall and four in a row at home. They have won five straight against the Tigers after sweeping a three-game set at home to conclude the 2012 season series.
It was a forgettable outing for Rick Porcello, who failed to make it out of the opening frame. He recorded just two outs and allowed nine runs on nine hits with one walk.
"Rick was a little rusty, a little wild and a little unlucky," said Detroit manager Jim Leyland. "That pretty much sums it up."
Drew Smyly pitched effectively in relief, holding the Angels to four hits and compiling seven strikeouts in 5 2/3 scoreless innings.
Detroit, though, has scored just one run over a three-game losing streak and fell to 4-4 on a nine-game road trip.