Red Sox-Angels Preview
By KATE HEDLIN
(AP) -- Rather than moving closer to ending his 11-start winless streak, C.J. Wilson seems to be getting farther from it - a frustrating trend as the Los Angeles Angels try to close the gap in the AL wild-card race.
Wilson takes the mound for the Angels on Wednesday night when they look for a seventh straight win against the Boston Red Sox - the latest team to tee off on the left-hander.
Instead of helping push Los Angeles toward a playoff berth, Wilson (9-9, 3.83 ERA) is in the midst of one of the worst stretches of his career. He's 0-5 with a 6.09 ERA since beating Baltimore on June 26.
Wilson's drought continued at Fenway Park last Thursday. He allowed seven runs and eight hits over five innings, but was let off the hook when the Angels (67-62) rallied to win 14-13 in 10 innings.
Wilson, who was 4-0 with a 1.08 ERA in five starts against the Red Sox while with Texas, had surrendered at least six runs in four of his last five outings.
The last Angels pitcher to go 11 starts without a win was Jim Abbott, whose streak reached 13 games from May 7-Aug. 10, 1996.
Wilson will try to recover and extend Los Angeles' dominance in this series after it rallied for a 6-5 victory Tuesday to stay 4 1/2 games behind Baltimore and Oakland for the AL's wild-card spots - with Tampa Bay and Detroit also standing in the way.
Mike Trout went 3 for 5 with his 25th homer and a run-scoring single in the ninth that tied the score. Alberto Callaspo scored the winning run on Torii Hunter's sacrifice fly.
"As long as we get in (the playoffs), that's fine, but we still want to win the division no matter what," Hunter said. "That's still the priority. We've got 30 more games, so we're just going out there every day and grinding. We didn't give up tonight. They got a lead early, but we kept grinding and got it done."
Los Angeles had lost its last two games and totaled seven runs over the previous three, but it received a spark Tuesday with the return of Albert Pujols, who had two hits - including a sixth-inning homer - after missing the previous four games with an injured right calf.
Boston (62-68), meanwhile, blew a three-run lead as it dropped to 9-17 this month.
Alfredo Aceves, who returned following a three-game suspension after an apparent argument with manager Bobby Valentine, recorded his eighth blown save.
Zach Stewart (1-2, 6.00) will take the mound Wednesday in his first start with the Red Sox. He was acquired from the Chicago White Sox in June for Kevin Youkilis.
Stewart has made 18 appearances this season. In the lone start, he surrendered six runs, nine hits and four homers in 5 2-3 innings of a 12-3 loss to the Cubs on June 18 - his last appearance in the majors.
"There's very little I can say about him other than the reports I've read, which tell me he's a good competitive athlete with a good sinker, not afraid of contact, likes to play the game of baseball," Valentine told the Red Sox's official website. "We'll be excited to have him out there."
The right-hander made a road start against the Angels last Aug. 24 and allowed seven runs in six innings of an 8-0 defeat.
Updated August 29, 2012