(Sports Network) - Time is running out on the LA Angels of Anaheim and their quest for a fourth consecutive playoff berth. A three-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals in this afternoon's series finale would help the cause.
The Angels are 8 1/2 games behind the Texas Rangers for the AL West lead and have won the first two installments of this set with KC. After posting a 6-4 triumph in Monday's series opener, the Angels responded with a 3-1 decision last night behind Dan Haren's first win with his new team.
Haren was 0-2 in three starts since coming via a trade with Arizona and delivered seven innings of one-run ball. The right-hander allowed five hits and struck out three batters, while Fernando Rodney and Brian Fuentes hurled a scoreless inning of relief. Fuentes registered his 23rd save in the process.
"I really wanted the team to win a game that I pitched," Haren said. "I only had one walk, but I was all over the place. I made the pitches when I had to. I'm aggressive and I had good defense behind me."
Bobby Abreu finished with two hits, a pair of walks and two runs scored for the Angels, who got two hits and a run scored from Howie Kendrick. The Halos have won four of five games and have scored 27 runs on 50 hits over their past five contests.
Anaheim ace Jered Weaver will be counting on getting some run support when he toes the rubber today. Weaver has won back-to-back starts and three of his past five decisions, and is coming off last Friday's 4-2 win at Detroit in which he yielded two runs -- one earned -- through seven innings. He has pitched seven innings in three consecutive trips to the mound.
Weaver is 11-7 with a 2.96 earned run average in 24 starts this season and 5-2 in 11 outings at the Big A. He is 4-4 with a 2.88 ERA in eight career starts against the Royals and beat them back on June 3 this season with seven shutout innings and nine strikeouts.
Kansas City has lost three in a row and five of its last six games. Young starter Bryan Bullington fell to 0-2 this season with six decent innings, as he gave up all three runs on five hits and a walk with four K's.
Alex Gordon was credited with the lone RBI for the Royals.
"We're struggling for runs right now. We're waiting for that one big hit to get us going," KC skipper Ned Yost said. "Bullington pitched really good, he kept us in the game. That's all we can ask."
Yost may ask for a bit more from reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke, who's slated to pitch Wednesday. Greinke has alternated wins and losses over his last six starts and lost at Seattle on Friday, as he was pummeled for six runs and 10 hits in seven innings.
Greinke, a right-hander, sports a 7-11 record and a 4.14 ERA in 23 starts this season and is 2-6 in 11 road starts. He's only 1-4 in seven career matchups (six starts) with the Angels and lost to them back in June. He faced Weaver that day and allowed four runs on 10 hits in six frames.
Anaheim leads the 2010 series with Kansas City by a 6-3 margin after taking nine of 10 matchups a season ago. The Angels are 15-4 in their last 19 meetings with the Royals.