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Harden Returns From DL To Face Haren, Angels

(Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim continue their quest to gain ground on the Texas Rangers as the top two teams in the AL West continue their three-game weekend series.

Newly-acquired Dan Haren will make his second start for Los Angeles this evening. The former Arizona hurler's first start ended early on Monday, as Haren was struck by a line drive on his right pitching forearm. He lasted 4 2/3 innings and allowed two earned runs on seven hits while striking out eight Red Sox. Haren is a combined 7-9 this season with a 4.57 ERA, numbers less impressive than we are accustomed to seeing from the standout hurler.

In his career against Texas, Haren is 3-5 with a 4.29 ERA in 10 games.

Rich Harden returns from a stint on the disabled list and will take the ball for Texas today. The hard-throwing righty has been on the DL since June 12 with a lower back injury, and he hopes to improve his 3-3 record and 5.68 ERA. Harden pitched six strong innings on Monday in his most recent rehab assignment.

Harden has yet to face the Angels this season and is 5-3 lifetime against the club with a 3.96 ERA.

Juan Rivera had two hits yesterday, including a three-run homer, and the Angels overcame an early five-run deficit to beat the rival Rangers, 9-7.

Rivera drove in four runs total for the Angels, who still trail the AL West- leading Rangers by eight games after snapping a four-game losing streak. Erick Aybar also homered and drove in two runs, while Alberto Callaspo went 2-for-4 with a pair of runs scored.

Ervin Santana (10-7) was the beneficiary of the support, getting the win despite allowing seven runs -- four earned -- on 10 hits and two walks in six innings. Brian Fuentes notched his 19th save.

"I felt like I had no command and no concentration, and I still came away with a win," Santana said. "Credit my teammates, offensively and defensively. That's a tough lineup, and I just tried to focus and get guys out."

Nelson Cruz belted a solo homer, while Vladimir Guerrero and David Murphy each drove in a pair of runs for the Rangers, who have dropped two of three. Elvis Andrus went 4-for-5 with an RBI and a pair of runs scored in defeat.

Tommy Hunter (8-1) dropped his first decision of the season, giving up eight runs, eight hits and a walk in three-plus frames.

"Tommy wasn't able to hit his spots," said Rangers manager Ron Washington. "He had trouble with his command. I wasn't expecting three innings out of him. We played well enough to win that game, but we couldn't stop them."

Infielder Jorge Cantu, who was acquired by Texas in a trade with Florida on Thursday, did not start. He did pinch-hit with two outs in the ninth and flied out.

Cruz extended his hit streak to 18 games.

Josh Hamilton left late in the game due to tendinitis in his right knee, an ailment that has bothered him all season. His status for tonight's game is unknown.

Texas has prevailed in six of the 10 previous meetings between these AL West rivals, but is just 2-6 in its last seven visits to Angel Stadium.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.