Based on the way Baltimore played in its series opener against the Los Angeles Angels, the Orioles seem poised to end their recent struggles in Anaheim.
The Orioles look to win consecutive road games against the Angels for the first time in almost three years Friday night.Nate McLouth hit a two-run homer and Chris Tillman pitched eight scoreless innings in Baltimore's 5-1 win at Los Angeles on Thursday. The Orioles (17-12) are 5-3 on an 11-game western trip but had dropped three of the previous four."We're starting to come together," said Orioles first baseman Chris Davis, who is batting .345 with seven homers and 20 RBIs on the road. "We're looking forward to getting back out there (Friday). It's been a long road trip for us and we need to just continue to focus."The victory was Baltimore's third in 11 games at Anaheim. The Orioles, who were shut out in their previous two road contests against the Angels (10-18), last won back-to-back contests there during a three-game sweep Aug. 27-19, 2010.McLouth is batting .429 (18 for 42) with three homers and nine RBIs in his last 12 games.Teammate Manny Machado has batted .426 (20 for 47) with seven RBIs during a hitting streak that reached 11 games with two hits Thursday.Miguel Gonzalez (2-1, 4.60 ERA) takes the mound for the Orioles after he allowed four runs in the sixth inning and never made it out of the frame in Sunday's 9-8, 10-inning loss at Oakland."I tried to do too much," said Gonzalez, who allowed two baserunners through the first five innings. "A couple of pitches I was forcing it instead of just letting it go."In his only previous outing versus Los Angeles, the right-hander gave up a solo homer to Mark Trumbo and two other hits in seven innings of a 3-2 win July 6.Trumbo went 0 for 3 with a walk Thursday for the Angels, who managed four hits while losing for the seventh time in nine games. Albert Pujols homered in the ninth for his first hit in 12 at-bats over three games.The Angels missed a prime chance to score in the first inning when Mike Trout was thrown out at the plate."Obviously we're not on any kind of a roll, so the small things become that much more important," Trumbo said.Trying for a sixth time to earn his first win with his new team, Los Angeles' Jason Vargas (0-3, 4.85) looks for a third consecutive strong outing.The left-hander allowed five runs in 15 innings while he's gone 0-1 in his last two starts after he yielded 10 over nine frames of his previous two. Pitching in his former home at Safeco Field on Sunday, Vargas gave up two homers and struck out seven in eight innings of a 2-1 loss to the Mariners."Just a couple mistakes there late and (Seattle's Jason) Bay and (Michael) Morse didn't miss them and that ended up being the ballgame, but he pitched a great game," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "If he pitches like that he'll win a lot of games for us."Vargas is 1-2 in six starts versus Baltimore despite a 2.03 ERA.