The Los Angeles Angels are showing signs of regaining their hitting stroke but could have a difficult time keeping their bats going if David Phelps can continue his recent resurgence.
Phelps will try to deliver another superb outing while helping the New York Yankees avoid a season high-tying fifth straight loss Saturday night.
Los Angeles (29-38) has produced 14 runs and 25 hits in its second set of back-to-back victories since the end of an eight-game win streak May 27. The Angels had 13 hits - their most in 16 games - in Friday's series-opening 5-2 victory over the Yankees (37-30).
Albert Pujols registered his second three-hit effort in as many games and four other players contributed two or more hits.
"We need to keep going tomorrow," said first baseman Mark Trumbo, who also had three hits and drove in a run. "We did a lot of things right. ... We got a nice win and that's what we need."
The Angels will try to keep hitting when they face Phelps (4-3, 3.90 ERA), who has bounced back splendidly from the worst start of his career. The right-hander is 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA in two outings since he failed to make it out of the first inning in a loss to the New York Mets on May 29. He's given up a combined four hits while striking out 13.
Phelps allowed one run over six innings and fanned six while helping the Yankees get past Seattle ace Felix Hernandez in a 2-1 win Sunday.
"Regardless of who I'm pitching against, I'm going to go out and try to put up as many zeros as I can," Phelps told the team's website.
Phelps will make his first start against the Angels. He had a 1.23 ERA in two relief appearances against them last season, covering 7 1-3 innings
The Yankees, meanwhile, will try to help him by snapping out of their extended funk at the plate. The Yankees are batting .220 in their last 23 games and .189 during their four consecutive defeats.
They produced six singles in Friday's loss, and placed Kevin Youkilis (back) on the disabled list before the game.
First baseman Mark Teixeira is 3 for 29 in his last seven games, while former Angel Vernon Wells is 4 for 28 during that same span.
"Keep fighting through it. That's all you can do," manager Joe Girardi said. "Every team is going to go through it. We're not immune to it, and we've got to find a way to get out of it."
Tommy Hanson (3-2, 4.12) will try to be the latest to stifle Yankees hitters while earning his second win since returning from the restricted list. The right-hander, who had been dealing with family issues, gave up two runs over five innings last Saturday in a 9-5 victory in Boston despite allowing seven hits and four walks.
"Tommy was on the edge it seemed like the whole game - a lot of baserunners and it's a tough lineup to give up a lot of opportunities," manager Mike Scioscia said. "But when he needed to make pitches, he did and was grinding it out for five innings."
Hanson is 2-0 with a 3.48 ERA in two career starts against the Yankees. The most recent was a 10-5 win for Atlanta on June 20.