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PIT@LAA: Blanton strikes out six over 7 1/3 innings

Although the Angels defeated the Astros on Friday, they are still just 4-7 against the newest team in the American League West.

"They've beaten us up," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said before Los Angeles won its fourth straight game overall. "But what it comes down to, it doesn't matter who you're playing or where you're playing, but how you're playing. We haven't played well against them, and they've taken it to us. We need to play consistent baseball as we did this week in Detroit if we are going to change anything."

With the Angels hoping to improve their record against the Astros, Joe Blanton will be looking to pick up his elusive second win, as he is just 1-10 this season.

However, Blanton has pitched better than his record indicates, as evidenced by the 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball he tossed in his last outing on Sunday against Pirates in a no-decision.

In two starts against the Astros, Blanton has allowed five earned runs in 14 2/3 innings of work.

As Blanton looks to build off his previous start, Astros starter Jordan Lyles probably wants to forget about his.

Lyles allowed eight runs (five earned) in five innings on Sunday against the Cubs, but in his seven outings prior to that, he was 3-0 with a 1.61 ERA.

"Any time you have a string of starts in which he put together, they were phenomenal, you can come out one day and just not have your good stuff or things don't go our way," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "I told him after the start, 'You'll get the ball in five days and go out and be successful.'"

In two starts against the Angels this season, Lyles is 2-0 and has allowed five earned runs in 10 2/3 innings.

Angels: Bourjos' thumb improving
Despite taking part in batting practice and pregame warmups on Friday, Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos was not in the starting lineup and remains "day to day' according to manager Mike Scioscia.

However, Bourjos did enter the game as a pinch-runner and scored the go-ahead run in the Angels' 4-2 win.

Bourjos has not started a game since he injured his thumb sliding into second base during Sunday's loss to the Pirates.

"We felt good enough to finally get him back on the field, warming up fully [Friday,]" Scioscia said. "It's been slow for him. We're waiting to see what happens."

Astros: Altuve pushing for Castro to get All-Star nod
Jose Altuve, who represented the Astros in the 2012 All-Star Game, believes catcher Jason Castro should be among the Astros' representatives in 2013.

Castro hit his 11th home run of the season in Friday's game and is hitting .273 with 27 RBIs.

"I'm sure he's going to make it," Altuve said. "He's having an All-Star year, and he's one of the guys that's been consistent all year long. We're almost halfway through the season right now and he's proven himself. He deserves to be there."

Players received their ballots on Friday, but official rosters will not be released until July 6.

Worth noting
• Carlos Pena has faced Blanton more than any of his Astros teammates. In 18 at-bats, Pena is hitting .278, but has also struck out seven times.

• Although they have had a limited number of at-bats against Lyles, several members of the Angels have had success against him. Mike Trout and Howie Kendrick are 2-for-5 against Lyles, while Josh Hamilton is 4-for-12.

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