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LAA@TOR: Haren earns no-decision despite solid outing

Following what had amounted to their biggest series of the season, the Angels welcome the Orioles with hopes that they can regain some momentum at the expense of the worst team in the American League. It is certainly a change in the quality of opponent, after the Halos salvaged their series with the first-place Rangers, taking the last of four games in dramatic fashion Thursday night.

A walk-off, two-run shot from Mark Trumbo closed the gap in the AL West to six games, a race that could grow closer as Texas hits the road to play the White Sox in a three-game set at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago.

On Friday, it will be up to the one Angels starter who did not take the mound against Texas -- Dan Haren. The right-hander comes off a no-decision in Toronto on Sunday, when he allowed three earned runs on five hits with five strikeouts over seven innings. Haren, who is 2-0 over his last six starts, has provided his club some much-needed depth. He has tossed at least 6 2/3 innings in each of his last five starts, and has pitched into the eighth inning or later in three of those outings.

Friday marks Haren's first start of the year against the Orioles. He is 4-2 lifetime against the O's, with a 3.60 ERA and 31 strikeouts in eight career starts (50 innings).

Jo-Jo Reyes will counter Haren in place of Jeremy Guthrie, who was originally slated to pitch in the series opener. Guthrie was scratched on Wednesday due to continued soreness in his right shoulder.

"He's had it a little bit between starts, but it went away and he managed it without any problems," manager Buck Showalter said. "It was just sore after his last start. With [Thursday's] off-day and the innings and everything, we'll keep that in mind with him. I'm hoping that it's nothing a day or two of extra rest shouldn't solve. I'm going to talk to him to see if Saturday or Sunday fits best."

As a result, Showalter will hand the ball to Reyes, who makes his fourth appearance with the Orioles. Reyes (6-9, 5.30 ERA) earned the victory his last time out when he limited the Tigers to one run on four hits over six innings. Overall, Reyes is 1-1 with a 4.21 ERA in three appearances with Baltimore.

Orioles: Hardy's gone hot to cold
J.J. Hardy was named American League Player of the Week for the week ending on Sunday, a run which saw him hit .323 (10-for-31) with four home runs, 10 RBIs and two doubles in seven games. But Hardy is hitting just .090 (2-for-22) since then, though he snapped an 0-for-17 streak with his 2-for-5 day on Wednesday. It is the coldest streak of what has otherwise been a big comeback year for Hardy who, with 23 home runs, is on pace to surpass his career high in home runs (26 in '07).

Angels: Chatwood optioned, Conger recalled
Struggling rookie starter Tyler Chatwood was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake on Thursday, while catcher Hank Conger was recalled from Salt Lake in a corresponding roster move. Chatwood, who has struggled with command of his fastball, allowed 18 runs in his past four starts for an 8.53 ERA and three loses.

• Vernon Wells' recent struggles at the plate took him out of the starting lineup Thursday. He entered in the seventh inning and went 0-for-1. Through 16 games in August, the left fielder has gone 8-for-59 (.135), to lower an average that is at .200.

Worth noting
• Angels right fielder Torii Hunter extended his hitting streak to 16 games Thursday, singling in the bottom of the ninth ahead of Trumbo's blast.

• The Angels boast 11 players on their 25-man roster who have fewer than two years of Major League experience. Fourteen players have made their big league debut with the Angels over the last two seasons.

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