(SportsNetwork.com) - The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will kick off an extended road trip on Friday night when they pay a visit to Camden Yards to take on the Baltimore Orioles in the opener of a three-game set.
Both teams had an off day Thursday. The Angels just wrapped up a 6-3 homestand and are now embarking on a 10-game road trip that will see them face three teams from the American League East in Baltimore, Toronto and Boston.
The Angels gained some ground on AL West-leading Houston with three straight wins this week, including Wednesday's 2-1 walk-off victory over Colorado in 11 innings.
Starter Hector Santiago twirled six innings of one-run ball, striking out eight with no walks, but did not factor into the decision. Outfielder Mike Trout made a couple of highlight-reel defensive plays in extra innings, which helped set the stage for Albert Pujols to deliver the game-winning sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 11th.
"You just have to try to not be too anxious," Pujols said. "Bases loaded, no outs, five-man infield, my only reminder was to stay away from the ground-ball double play. (Rockies reliever Christian Friedrich) made some tough pitches. I knew I had to get a good pitch to hit. That last one was a pretty good one. I drove down my knee to try to get it up."
Winners in six of their last eight games overall, the Halos now sit at .500 for the first time since April 30.
This is the second leg of Baltimore's nine-game homestand. The Orioles are bringing up the rear in the AL East, but did take two of three from the Blue Jays earlier this week.
The O's are coming off Wednesday's 6-1 victory in the series finale, as they rebounded from a 10-2 drubbing the previous night. The difference was a five- run second inning in which Baltimore knocked three doubles off Toronto's Aaron Sanchez and batted around the order. That would prove more than enough run support needed for starter Miguel Gonzalez, who went 7 2/3 innings and allowed only an unearned run (courtesy of a passed ball) on three hits.
"Gonzalez is always tough on us, I don't care where it's at," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Gonzalez, who owns a 2.36 ERA in 12 career games against Toronto. "He's a pitcher, he has a good quick arm, he moves the ball around. He has always been tough on us."
Also of note in Wednesday's victory, Orioles designated hitter Jimmy Paredes extended his hit streak to 12 games and is now batting .364 in 21 games since coming off the disabled list. Paredes has five home runs, seven doubles, two triples, 18 RBI and 16 runs scored in that span.
Wei-Yin Chen will toe the rubber for Baltimore on Friday night. The left- hander has a 2.52 ERA through six starts this season but only one win to his credit. That victory came in Chen's last outing at Yankee Stadium, as he went seven innings and gave up only one earned run on five hits, striking out seven and walking just one in the process. He has yet to allow more than three earned runs in a game this season and has yielded two or fewer earned runs in all but one start.
Jered Weaver gets the call for the Angels. The veteran right-hander is just 1-4 with an uncharacteristic 4.98 ERA after seven turns through the rotation. However, Weaver's most recent start was also his most promising to this point, as he turned in a six-hit shutout of the Astros last week. He notched six strikeouts and did not issue a walk in logging his first victory of 2015, and his first shutout since 2012.
Baltimore went 4-2 against the Angels in 2014.