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Lee Looks To Pitch Rangers To Series Win

(Sports Network) - Angel Stadium is the site of this afternoon's rubber match between the AL West-leading Texas Rangers and hometown LA Angels of Anaheim.

The Rangers own a comfortable lead of 8 1/2 games over the second-place Athletics in the West, as well as a nine-game edge over the Angels, and show no signs of letting up.

Texas fans have to like their chances today with Cliff Lee on the bump. The machine-like lefty has racked up 139 innings pitched through only 17 starts and has six complete games to his credit. He turned in nine innings of shutout ball against Oakland on Tuesday, but a lack of run support led to a no- decision. Lee has benefited from pinpoint control, as he has only seven walks this entire season to go along with 114 strikeouts.

The veteran ace has yet to face the Angels this season and is 7-3 lifetime against the franchise with a 3.07 ERA.

Speaking of Los Angeles, it will give the ball to Jered Weaver today. The Angels' righty is 9-7 with a 3.19 ERA through 22 games, and he has 155 strikeouts through 141 innings. Weaver allowed only two earned runs to Boston through seven innings on Tuesday but was still saddled with the loss.

Weaver is 1-1 versus Texas this season and 5-4 all-time against the Rangers with a 3.67 ERA.

Vladimir Guerrero's two-run homer in the fourth inning was enough against his former team as the AL West-leading Rangers edged the Angels, 2-1, in the middle installment of this three-game series on Saturday.

Nelson Cruz extended his career-high hitting streak to 19 games as Texas, despite playing without major league-leading hitter Josh Hamilton, bounced back from a 9-7 defeat on Friday. Hamilton was out because of patella tendinitis in his right knee.

Rich Harden (4-3), activated off the disabled list earlier in the day, limited Los Angeles to one run on five hits over seven innings.

"They were aggressive and that was my plan, to go out there and throw strikes," Harden said. "I was hitting my spots and I was happy with my pitch count."

Dan Haren (0-2), making his second start with his new club, was charged with five hits, walked two and fanned six in a complete-game effort. It was his second complete game of the season and 11th of his career, but he's winless (0-6) over his last nine starts.

Howie Kendrick homered in the seventh inning for LA, which lost for the eighth time in 10 contests.

The Rangers acquired infielder Cristian Guzman from the Washington Nationals on Friday. Texas also sent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to Boston in exchange for pitcher Roman Mendez, first baseman Chris McGuiness, a player to be named later and cash considerations.

Texas has prevailed in seven of the 11 previous meetings between these AL West rivals, but is just 3-6 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.