(Sports Network) - Dan Haren won his share of games while a member of the Oakland Athletics. Tonight the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim hurler will be attempting to extend his former team's current struggles when he takes the mound for tonight's second test of a three-game series between the American League West foes from Angel Stadium.
Haren posted 43 victories and made one All-Star Game appearance during a three-year stint with the Athletics from 2005-07, then was traded by the cash- strapped organization to Arizona along with relief pitcher Connor Robertson in exchange for six prospects that included current Oakland rotation member Brett Anderson.
The standout right-hander made two more All-Star teams with the Diamondbacks, but was shipped by the rebuilding club to the Angels on July 25 for veteran starter Joe Saunders and a pair of minor-leaguers. And while Haren's addition didn't result in another AL West title for Anaheim, he's registered a very solid 2.85 earned run average in 12 starts following the swap.
Haren has been terrific over the past month, having compiled a 2-0 record with a stellar 1.32 ERA in his last six starts. He's yielded one run or less in all but one of those assignments and lasted seven innings in each of his last five outings.
The Los Angeles-area native limited playoff-bound Texas to one unearned run and three hits over seven frames last Wednesday at Angel Stadium, though he wound up with a no-decision in a game the Rangers won in extra innings.
Haren has pitched twice previously against the Athletics, with both meetings taking place during his tenure with the Diamondbacks. He notched a win and a no-decision in the two games while pitching to a 3.86 ERA.
Dallas Braden, who takes the mound for Oakland this evening, is coming off a sensational showing against the Rangers in his last appearance as well. The gritty left-hander limited the AL West champs to a single hit and struck out seven over eight excellent innings this past Thursday, putting an end to a four-start losing streak in the process.
The win moved Braden to 10-13 in 28 starts this season and gave him double- digit victories for the first time in his four-year career, in addition to lowering his season ERA to 3.49.
The 27-year-old is 1-2 with a 5.03 ERA in three clashes with the Angels earlier this season, with the win taking place in Anaheim back on April 11, and sports a 2-5 record with a 4.61 ERA over 12 career games (eight starts) against the Halos.
Braden will be asked to halt a four-game skid for Oakland that was lengthened by last night's 6-5 loss to the Angels, who were able to halt a string of four straight losses with the one-run verdict.
Anaheim trailed by a run heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, but scored three times during its half of the frame to forge ahead. Hideki Matsui's pinch-hit RBI single tied the contest at 4-4, and the Angels got two more runs when Oakland reliever Justin James hit a batter and walked in a man with the bases loaded.
The A's pulled within 6-5 on Kurt Suzuki's RBI triple in the eighth and brought the potential tying run to third in the ninth. However, Angels closer Fernando Rodney retired Mark Ellis on a game-ending ground out to preserve the one-run lead and pick up his 13th save.
Oakland had three players (Ellis, Jack Cust, Cliff Pennington) finish with three hits and received a 2-for-3, two-RBI performance out of Suzuki, but stranded 16 baserunners on the night.
"A lot of bizarre things happened early," said Athletics manager Bob Geren. "It's disappointing. We had the lead. Every time we play this team, it's always a great battle right to the end."
Erick Aybar knocked in two runs and Maicer Izturis went 2-for-3 with an RBI single for Anaheim, which is now one game behind Oakland for second place in the AL West.
"Our goal wasn't to finish second," said Angels outfielder Torii Hunter. "I don't even like talking about that. We have to win five of our next six games to finish over .500. That's our goal right now."
The Angels have won nine of their 17 meetings with Oakland so far this season, and the A's have lost five of seven games to the Angels held at the Big A in 2010.