Angels pay a rare visit to Wrigley

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim resume their climb to .500 on Tuesday night when they play the first of two straight meetings against the Chicago Cubs and All-Star pitcher Travis Wood.

The Angels took two of three over the weekend against the Boston Red Sox, giving them a victory in 10 of their last 12 games. That has the Angels at 43-45 on the year, the first time they are within two games of the even mark since sitting at 2-4 on April 7.

Ace Jered Weaver held Boston to just five hits in Sunday's 3-0 win, logging 6 2/3 scoreless frames while also striking out six. He's allowed only two runs over his last 20 2/3 innings -- a stretch which spans over three starts.

He picked up his third victory of the season on Sunday, outdueling former teammate John Lackey.

"I'm feeling good, my location was pretty good. I wanted to try and match Lackey," said Weaver. "I just tried to make quality pitches, John took me under his wing when he was here. He taught me the ropes, I owe him a lot."

Mike Trout homered in his second straight game and Hank Conger also went deep for the Angels, who are likely in for a tight battle tonight given the season Wood has put together so far.

Sixteen of the left-hander's 17 appearances this season have been quality starts, though he is just 5-6 on the year despite a 2.69 earned run average. Wood has also not won since May 30, going 0-3 in his past six outings with a 2.58 ERA.

Wood did not get a decision for a third straight game on Thursday, though he threw another gem in Oakland. The 26-year-old scattered three hits over six scoreless innings, but the Cubs went on to lose 1-0.

"It was a shame, six shutout innings and three hits," said Cubs manager Dale Sveum about Wood's performance. "He pitched another great ballgame."

Wood faces the Angels for the first time and will be countered by Joe Blanton, who is 1-0 with a 3.04 ERA in four starts since losing three straight outings from May 28-June 9.

Blanton allowed two earned runs or fewer in the first three games of his unbeaten stretch, but was charged with five runs (4 earned) on nine hits over 5 2/3 frames of a no-decision versus St. Louis last Thursday. He also struck out seven and is 2-10 on the season with a 5.14 ERA in 17 starts.

The 32-year-old righty is 1-0 with a 2.93 ERA in six previous meetings with the Cubs and will pitch at Wrigley Field for the first time since July 16, 2010.

Blanton will look to put an end to the Cubs' three-game winning streak, a run they extended with Monday's 8-2 win over the Chicago White Sox in a make-up contest.

Luis Valbuena drove in two of his three runs in the game with a double during a five-run eighth inning, while Alfonso Soriano had three hits, one a solo homer, four runs scored and also stole two bases.

Matt Garza gave up two runs -- one earned -- on five hits with no walks and six strikeouts over seven innings to win his fourth straight decision.

"I think I'm picking up where I left off last year, doing the things that I did well towards the end there," said Garza. "I look forward to every five days now when I can get out there."

The Angels and Cubs split a two-game series in Anaheim from June 4-5 and the all-time series between the clubs is even at 4-4. L.A. is visiting Wrigley Field for the first time since June of 2010.