After having one of their longest win streaks snapped, the Los Angeles Angels look to their ace to get them rolling again.
Jered Weaver, though, will have to contend with a pair of red-hot Houston Astros in Jose Altuve and Collin McHugh on Wednesday night as he looks to become the AL's first 16-game winner.
Los Angeles (83-54) had won a season high-tying six in a row before an 8-3 defeat in Tuesday's series opener in Houston. The Angels had one hit in the first five innings before finishing with six.
They remained 4 1/2 games in front of Oakland in the AL West after the Athletics lost 6-5 to Seattle.
Los Angeles has won 12 of Weaver's last 14 starts with the right-hander going 8-1. Weaver (15-7, 3.57 ERA) earned his third win in a row with Friday's 4-0 victory over Oakland, yielding three hits in seven innings.
"He's our guy for a reason," catcher Chris Iannetta told MLB's official website. "He goes out there day in and day out and gives us a chance to win."
Weaver has had mixed results in two starts this season against the Astros (60-79). He allowed two hits in his only complete game this year, outdueling McHugh in a 2-1 home victory May 21, and gave up five runs in 5 2-3 innings April 6 in a 7-4 loss in Houston.
Weaver will again square off with McHugh (7-9, 2.99), who is 3-0 with a 1.91 ERA in his last six starts, and Altuve, who has consecutive four-hit games.
McHugh gave up two runs in seven innings Thursday, a 4-2 home win over Texas, to improve to 2-0 with a 1.86 ERA in his last three starts at Minute Maid Park. He earned a 7-2 victory in his only home matchup against the Angels on June 3, permitting two hits and two walks in five scoreless innings.
The right-hander is 1-2 with a 2.25 ERA in three career starts versus Los Angeles, all this season. The Astros have given him a combined one run in the two defeats.
Altuve appears poised to provide more support to McHugh by himself after extending his hitting streak to 10 games in impressive fashion Tuesday.
The AL batting leader became the first Astros player with four hits in back-to-back games since Lance Berkman in May 2008. He homered and drove in a pair of runs as Houston won its first game under interim manager Tom Lawless.
"He's the best player ever right now," Tuesday's winning pitcher Brad Peacock said. "He's unbelievable to watch. He plays hard. He swings the bat really well."
Altuve, now hitting .340, is 18 for 43 (.419) during his streak and has batted .380 with 13 RBIs in his last 22 games. He's batting .379 with three homers and 10 RBIs in 17 career home games against the Angels, but is 0 for 7 this season against Weaver.
Erick Aybar, batting .444 during a career-best 17-game hit streak, is 1 for 6 lifetime against McHugh.
Albert Pujols, who is batting .172 in 14 games at Houston since the start of last season, is 3 for 7 versus McHugh and hit a tiebreaking solo homer off him on May 21.