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Angels look to stay afloat in AL West race

Sep 25, 2006 - 3:08 PM Texas (78-78) at LA Angels (84-71) 10:05 pm EDT

ANAHEIM, California (Ticker) -- The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim look to ward off elimination from playoff contention again Monday, when they host the opener of a three-game series against the Texas Rangers.

Anaheim managed to remain mathematically alive in the American League West Division by winning back-to-back games at front-running Oakland over the weekend. The Angels trail the A's by six games with seven to play.

Angels right fielder Vladimir Guerrero had two hits, including a two-run homer, in Sunday's 7-1 victory and is hitting .358 with 15 homers and 57 RBI since the beginning of July. He looks to improve upon those numbers vs. the Rangers, against whom he has hit .426 with 18 home runs and 42 RBI in 52 games.

Guerrero next faces rookie Edison Volquez (1-5, 6.53 ERA), who has gone 0-4 with an 8.84 ERA in his last four starts. The righthander's best outing during that stretch came against Anaheim on September 14, when he allowed two runs and six hits in five innings of a 2-1 loss. Guerrero had his 25-game hitting streak at Ameriquest Field snapped that night.

In his previous two meetings with the Angels, Volquez surrendered five runs and seven hits in 1 1/3 innings of relief.

Anaheim counters with a rookie of its own as Joe Saunders (6-3, 4.29) makes his 14th career start. In his last outing at Kansas City on Tuesday, the lefthander gave up one run and recorded a season-high eight strikeouts in seven innings of a 5-2 win.

Saunders has had contrasting results in two starts against the Rangers. He gave up just three hits in seven scoreless innings of a 9-1 win here on August 6 but was pounded for eight runs in 2 2/3 innings of a 9-3 loss at Ameriquest Field 10 days later.

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