Angels shoot for 9th straight victory in opener with Dodgers

For how well the LA Angels of Anaheim are playing, they still haven't gained much ground in the AL West.

The Angels look to get some help from a few teams when they shoot for a ninth straight win Monday against the local Los Angeles Dodgers at Chavez Ravine. The two L.A. squads are slated to play twice in Anaheim later in the week.

Anaheim is nine games behind the AL West-leading Texas Rangers, while the Oakland Athletics are closing in at 4 1/2 games off the pace. Texas is playing a doubleheader with Arizona on Memorial Day and Oakland is hosting San Francisco this afternoon.

The Angels continued their recent fury by sweeping a four-game set from the Kansas City Royals and made it eight wins in a row with Sunday's 5-2 victory. Josh Hamilton hit his eighth homer of the season and J.B. Shuck ended with three hits and two RBI.

"It's feeding off each other as far as getting hits at the right time with guys in scoring position," Hamilton said of the team's winning streak. "Getting a break or two here and there. All those are contributing factors to winning ballgames."

Jerome Williams was reached for two runs in six innings for the win and five relievers kept Kansas City off the board with Ernesto Frieri nailing down his 10th save in the ninth. Frieri, though, allowed a hit and a walk in the frame.

C.J. Wilson will handle pitching duties for the Halos Monday and he ended a three-start slide his last time out in a 7-1 win last Wednesday versus Seattle. He struck out 10 Mariners and limited them to a run in a season-high eight innings of work.

Wilson is 4-3 with a 3.39 ERA in 10 starts and has no record and a 1.13 ERA in two career games (1 start) against the Dodgers.

The Angels announced that ace right-hander Jered Weaver is set to take the hill Wednesday versus the Dodgers at the Big A. Weaver has been on the disabled list since April 8 with a fractured left elbow.

The Dodgers have alternated wins and losses over their last seven games and couldn't pull one out for Clayton Kershaw in Sunday's 5-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Kershaw lasted seven innings and was reached for four runs and seven hits to fall to 5-3.

"You've got to battle sometimes, you won't throw up zeroes every time," Kershaw said. "Games like this are going to happen."

Adrian Gonzalez homered and drove in three runs and Carl Crawford finished 3- for-4 with a run scored for Los Angeles. Matt Kemp was held out of the starting lineup and went 0-for-1 in a pinch-hitting role. He is hitless in his last three games.

Former Angel Zack Greinke will toe the rubber for the Dodgers Monday and spent half of last season with Anaheim, going 6-2 in 13 starts. Signed to a megadeal with the Dodgers this offseason, Greinke will make his third start since coming off the DL with a broken collarbone and is 2-1 with a 3.48 ERA in four starts. Greinke was battered for five runs and nine hits over four innings of a 5-2 loss at Milwaukee last Tuesday. Greinke also pitched for the Brewers.

"I didn't make adjustments. I have to be smarter out there," Greinke said. "I was trying to do most of the game something I shouldn't have been doing."

Greinke has experienced hardship pitching against the Angels as evidenced by his 1-4 mark and 3.70 ERA in eight matchups (7 starts).

The Angels took four of the six meetings with the Dodgers last season and have won 13 of the previous 18 games in this series.