The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim will have to overcome a very confident Brett Oberholtzer as they host the Houston Astros for the deciding matchup of a three-game set.
Josh Hamilton's game-winning solo homer in the bottom of the 10th inning lifted the Angels a 6-5 win over Houston in the middle test of the series. The victory snapped a five-game home losing streak for the Halos.
Mark Trumbo hit a solo shot and finished with three RBI for the hosts, who improved to 7-8 against the Astros in 2013. Mike Trout went 1-for-3 with a pair of walks to extend his reaching base safely streak to 39 games. He has hit safely in seven straight games and his .330 batting average is ranked third in the majors.
Erick Aybar did a great job in the extra-innings win, going 3-for-5 with two RBI, one of which tied up the contest in the seventh .
The Angels are beginning to get more and more offensive support from Hamilton, who has registered a multi-hit performance in three of his last four games.
"You keep working hard, doing everything you can do to prepare to play a game, but if the results aren't there, then it gets frustrating," Hamilton said. "Especially the way the season's going all around, it's been frustrating. Moments like that, you have to come back anyway, so it makes it a little easier to come back every day."
Although his batting average is only .227 on the season, the 32-year old right-fielder is hitting .342 with two home runs, three doubles and eight RBI in his last nine games.
Jason Vargas will take the mound for the Angels on Sunday. The 30-year-old southpaw made his first start since June 17 on Tuesday, but gave up four runs on eight hits to the Yankees over just 4 1/3 innings. The team won seven of his last nine starts before he was sent to the disabled list to have a surgical removal of a blood clot.
Vargas will have a tough task in his second game back as he duels Oberholtzer, who is 2-1 with an 0.87 ERA in three starts this season. The 24-year-old southpaw won his first two starts, but lost on Monday as Yu Darvish stifled Houston's offense to lead the Rangers to a 2-1 win.
"I'm a guy that likes to settle in," Oberholtzer said. "They got to me early, but other than that, I felt pretty good. Body-wise, not quite the same [as his first two starts], but some days, you'll wake up and not feel 100 percent."
The Astros will be looking to regain some momentum as they had won three of their previous four games coming into Saturday. Brett Wallace belted a two-run homer among his three hits and registered three RBI for Houston in the loss. Robbie Grossman also finished with three hits while Chris Carter went 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Carter is 4-for-8 with a home run and six RBI through the first two games of the series.
Houston swept the Angels in a four-game series from May 31-June 3.