Angels, Mariners open set in Seattle

A pair of AL West rivals square off Friday in the Emerald City, as the LA Angels of Anaheim and Seattle Mariners open a three-game series at Safeco Field.

The Angels have won six of 10 matchups with Seattle this season and have prevailed in five of the past six meetings between the clubs.

Anaheim has won 11 of its last 14 games overall and split a pair of games with the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. In Wednesday's 13-2 blasting of the Cubs, Josh Hamilton homered twice and drove in five runs, while Albert Pujols, Mark Trumbo and Brendan Harris all went deep in the win.

"The last two or three weeks I've been swinging the bat a lot better," Hamilton said. "It feels good. End the first half strong and keep it going in the second half."

Hamilton has four homers in the last six games.

Angels starter C.J. Wilson was the beneficiary of the run support and picked up the win by limiting the Cubs to a run in seven innings. Wilson has now held opponents to two runs or less in five of his last six outings.

Jerome Williams will handle pitching duties for the Angels Friday and he has struggled in his last few outings, going 0-2 with a 7.65 earned run average in the previous five games (4 starts). Williams has given up 11 runs over the past two starts and was reached for four runs in three innings of last Saturday's 9-7 win over Boston.

Williams, who gave up seven runs in just 1 2/3 innings versus St. Louis on July 3, is 5-4 in 22 games (11 starts) this season to go along with a 4.16 ERA. He hasn't won since June 12 at Baltimore and is 1-0 with no ERA in two games (1 start) against the Seattle this season.

The right-hander has faced the Mariners 10 times, five of which have been starts, in his career, going 4-1 with a 2.74 ERA.

Seattle took the opener of a four-game series with the Boston Red Sox, but then dropped the next three games, including Thursday's 8-7 loss in 10 innings. Daniel Nava had an RBI single in the top of the 10th and the Mariners went down in order in the bottom half.

Kyle Seager homered and Seattle closer Tom Wilhelmsen was dealt the loss for allowing the go-ahead run. Erasmo Ramirez didn't help the cause in his start and gave up seven runs over 4 2/3 innings.

"Every ground ball just got to the right spot. The hitters got the luck today," Ramirez said. "What I can do is just continue throwing the ball trying to make quality pitches, but I didn't so they made me pay for that."

The Mariners have won each of Joe Saunders' last two starts and he is slated to take the hill Friday versus the Halos. Saunders has won three of his previous five starts, including Sunday's 3-1 win at Cincinnati in which he delivered seven innings of one-run ball.

Saunders, whose two-game win streak comes on the heels of losing three of four starts, is 7-8 in 18 starts with a 4.51 ERA this season. The left-hander lost at Anaheim on June 19 even though he pitched well in the 1-0 setback, charged with one run in eight innings. Saunders played for the Angels from 2005 through parts of 2010 and has dropped both of his career starts against them.