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Mike Scioscia rolls dice to try to keep Angels close to Rangers

Ervin-santana_275 The Angels don't have their backs to the wall in the American League West pennant race just yet. But they can see the wall from where they stand.

So Manager Mike Scioscia is going roll the dice Saturday in Arlington, Texas, by sending right-hander Ervin Santana to the mound on three days rest for the first time in his career. Right-hander Jered Weaver is scheduled to do the same in the finale of the three-game series Sunday.

But short rest isn't the biggest challenge the two pitchers will face, Weaver said. The slugging Rangers, second in the majors in batting and third in home runs and runs scored, make the assignment tougher, as does the humid Texas weather. It was 104 degrees just before game time Saturday, and it could be hotter Sunday.

The Angels lost the series opener Friday to fall three games back in the standings with 31 games to play.

With the Rangers starting left-hander C.J. Wilson, Scioscia also gave a start to rookie outfielder Mike Trout on Saturday. Wilson and Santana faced off 11 days ago in Anaheim, with Wilson giving up just one earned run in seven innings to get the win. Santana threw a career-high 129 pitches that night, only to lose for the only time since June 21.

The lineups:

Angels

1. Maicer Izturis, 3B; 2. Peter Bourjos, CF; 3. Howie Kendrick, 2B; 4. Torii Hunter, DH; 5. Mark Trumbo, 1B; 6. Vernon Wells, LF; 7. Erick Aybar, SS; 8. Mike Trout, RF; 9. Bobby Wilson, C. P -- Ervin Santana

Texas Rangers

1. Ian Kinsler, 2B; 2. Elvis Andrus, SS; 3. Josh Hamilton, LF; 4. Michael Young, 3B; 5. Mike Napoli, C; 6. Mitch Moreland, 1B; 7. Nelson Cruz, RF; 8. David Murphy, DH; 9. Endy Chavez, CF. P -- C.J. Wilson.

-- Kevin Baxter in Arlington, Texas

Photo: Angels starter Ervin Santana works against the Texas Rangers during a game last week at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. Credit: Jeff Gross / Getty Images

 
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