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Posted at 07:15 AM ET, 07/30/2011

Leading off: Angels aim to stay hot in Detroit

Game of the day: Los Angeles Angels at Detroit, 4:10 p.m. If the season ended Saturday, the Tigers (56-50) would be in the playoffs as the American League Central champs with the Angels (58-49) left out. Sitting two games back of reigning American League champ Texas in the division and five games behind in the AL wild card race, Los Angeles — now 16-9 this month even with a 12-2 loss on Friday — hopes to continue its recent hot streak to stay in the hunt. In this one, Angels right-hander Dan Haren will make his 245th career start, while Tigers left-hander Duane Below is slated for his third career start. Haren bounced back from a pair of shaky outings in Monday’s start against Cleveland. He pitched into the eighth inning but got a no decision when Jordan Walden blew the save. Below, a Michigan native, comes in looking for his first career win and sporting a 4.66 ERA after a rough start in Chicago his last time out.

Other game to watch: Florida at Atlanta, 7:10 p.m. If the Braves hope to stay within striking distance of the first-place Phillies, they can start by handling business against the bottom of the National League East. After Friday’s 5-0 win against Florida, they are still just three games over .500 against division foes. (Philadelphia, on the other hand, has gone 29-16 versus the division.) Atlanta turns to Tim Hudson hoping to win the series against the suddenly hot Marlins, who came into the series with a five-game winning streak. The three-time all-star has posted quality starts in his last seven outings, pitching at least seven innings in the past four. Florida third baseman Emilio Bonifacio had his 26-game hitting streak snapped Friday night, and Saturday starter Anibal Sanchez enters with his own streak the Marlins would be happy to end. The right-hander won his sixth game of the season on June 10, which is only notable because he hasn’t earned a victory in eight starts since then.

Games you should have seen:

Toronto 3, Texas 2 University of Maryland product Brett Cecil seems to have the Rangers all figured out. Less than a week after tossing a four-hit shutout to beat the AL West leaders, Cecil allowed one run in seven innings in a home start against Texas to pick up his fourth win of the season. In both starts, he outdueled all-star Alexi Ogando. Catcher J.P. Arencibia provided all the offense Toronto needed with a three-run home run in the fifth inning.

Cincinnati 4, San Francisco 3 (13 innings) Edgar Renteria’s hit off former teammate Brian Wilson brought home Jay Bruce with the game-winning run for the Reds in the bottom of the 13th inning. Renteria’s hit came right after Cincinnati reliever Jose Arredondo singled to left in his first career at-bat. Arredondo also picked up his second win of the season as his team snapped a four-game losing streak.

Stat you should know: 51 The number of games combined in hitting streaks belonging to Florida’s Emilio Bonifacio (26 games) and Boston’s Dustin Pedroia (25) that were snapped on Friday night. Bonifacio went 0 for 4 in a loss against Atlanta to end a hit streak that was the second longest in Marlins history. Pedroia finished 0 for 4 in Boston’s 3-1 loss to the White Sox, finishing the longest hitting streak in the American League this season. They were the fourth pair to have concurrent hitting streaks of at least 25 straight games in the last 50 years.

Star of the night: Several Royals turned in shining performances in a 12-0 rout of the Indians on Friday, but no one in baseball is as hot as Billy Butler. The 25-year-old slammed a pair of home runs in the victory, the fourth straight game he has gone deep. Butler, who ranks among the top ten in the league in doubles, has hit five of his 12 home runs this season since Tuesday.

Chatter: “We tried to address a need that we felt was a missing piece. This gives us a little more balance.” — Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro Jr. on the trade that brought all-star outfielder Hunter Pence over from Houston for four minor leaguers. The trade was widely reported during Philadelphia’s 10-3 home win against Pittsburgh on Friday night and finalized soon after. Pence started for the Astros on Friday in Milwaukee and was lifted in the fifth inning of an eventual 4-0 loss.

By  |  07:15 AM ET, 07/30/2011

 
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