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Preview: Rangers at Angels

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The Texas Rangers look to maintain their slim lead in the American League West when they visit the Los Angeles Angels for the opener of their three-game series Friday. Texas was idle on Thursday but moved one-half game ahead of Oakland in the division thanks to the Athletics' loss to the lowly Houston Astros. The Rangers dropped two of three in Oakland prior to their day off to briefly fall into a first-place tie atop the West.

Texas has lost two straight series and three of its last four, with the only win being a three-game sweep at Seattle. The Rangers enter Friday's opener with a seven-game winning streak against the Angels and are 10-2 in the season series. Los Angeles is 10-3 in its last 13 overall contests but has won only three of its last 14 at home.

TV: 10:05 p.m. ET, TXA-21 (Texas), FSN West (Los Angeles)

PITCHING MATCHUP: Rangers RH Matt Garza (9-3, 3.55 ERA) vs. Angels LH C.J. Wilson (14-6, 3.35)

Garza is coming off his best start since his debut with Texas on July 24 but settled for a no-decision after limiting Minnesota to one run and three hits in seven innings on Saturday. The 29-year-old went 2-2 over his previous five outings, surrendering at least four runs in each contest. Garza is seeking his first career victory against the Angels, as he is 0-1 with a 5.45 ERA in six previous starts.

Wilson extended his winning streak to six games Sunday, when he allowed three runs - two earned - and three hits over six innings at Milwaukee. The 32-year-old has not lost since July 5 against the Boston Red Sox and is 10-1 over his last 15 outings. Wilson was tagged for six runs and 11 hits over four frames at Texas on July 30 in his only start versus his former team this season.

WALK-OFFS

1. Wilson is 0-2 with an 8.63 ERA in six career starts against the Rangers.

2. Los Angeles OF Kole Calhoun has driven in at least one run in seven of his last eight games and has 11 RBIs in his last 11 contests.

3. Texas SS Elvis Andrus is expected back in the lineup Friday after missing four games with tightness in his lower back.

PREDICTION: Rangers 7, Angels 2

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