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ATL@MIA: Harang allows two runs over 6 2/3 innings

The Angels roughed up Aaron Harang in four meetings last season, tagging the veteran right-hander for 20 earned runs on 35 hits in 17 1/3 innings. His 10.38 ERA against the Halos paled in comparison to his 4.71 mark against other teams.

The visiting club's MLB-best 90-46 record in Interleague Play since 2007 also bodes well as the Angels begin a three-game set in Atlanta.

Unfortunately for the Angels, the Harang they will face on Friday night at Turner Field is not the same hurler who struggled mightily against them while wearing a Mariners uniform in 2013. His 11 quality starts in 13 turns for the Braves this season fall only one short of his 12 in twice as many starts last season.

His most recent quality start had the look of something special when he two-hit Arizona through six shutout innings on Sunday before melting down in the seventh.

Harang doubled his hit total by giving up knocks to Aaron Hill and David Peralta to lead off the seventh before walking Cody Ross. That ended Harang's night in what turned out to be a six-run inning for the D-backs.

"You've got to run him back out there," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said of his decision to leave Harang in for the seventh inning at Chase Field. "He's got a two-hit shutout. You've been watching it. We get into the seventh and [the bullpen] can't bridge it. So we tried to run him back out there and let him get us through that seventh inning somehow. He had some walks, but you felt comfortable that he could maneuver through the lineup. That seventh inning just unraveled on us."

So as Harang carries his 3.33 ERA -- which is nearly three-tenths lower than his career-best 3.61 mark in 2012 -- the Angels could use some history on their side as they try to return to their winning ways after having a five-game winning streak snapped with a 4-1 loss to the A's on Wednesday night.

The Halos have occupied second place in the AL West since May 13, and they send C.J. Wilson to the mound on Friday in a continued pursuit of Oakland.

Wilson will face the Braves and pitch at Turner Field for the first time as he tries to build off his last start. He limited the White Sox to only one run on three hits in 7 1/3 strong innings that earned him his seventh quality start in his past nine outings.

Angels: Club on upswing
Even after seeing its five-game winning streak end on Wednesday night, Los Angeles is only 3 1/2 games behind Oakland in the AL West. The Angels were 12 games out of first and 10 below .500 on June 14 last season.

Manager Mike Scioscia believes this year's results are more indicative of the team fans and media envisioned when the Halos added Albert Pujols, Wilson and Josh Hamilton in free agency the past two offseasons.

"I know I'm very excited to see how this team keeps improving and evolving through this season," Scioscia said. "I don't think there's anybody in that room that doesn't feel that we're going to contend for a championship, and that's what we want to do.

"You can talk about putting all the ingredients together and coming out here and playing hard and playing with confidence, but winning ballgames is that most important ingredient. That's what really builds the confidence of the club and moves you forward."

Braves: B.J. will battle history against Halos
B.J. Upton's batting average has fluctuated between .207 and .221 since May 23, as the Atlanta center fielder continues to try to rebound from a tough 2013. He'll head into Friday's matchup with a .210 batting average, after going 1-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs in a 10-3 loss to the Rockies on Thursday.

He will need to keep grinding this weekend due to tough numbers against Wilson and the Angels.

Although Upton's nine career homers against the Halos are his most against a non-divisional opponent, he is batting only .237 (44-for-186) against them. Worse, his clip against Wilson is .115 (3-for-26), with 13 strikeouts in 31 plate appearances.

But before overwhelming Upton's prospects against the Angels with the past, he has reached base safely in eight of his past 11 games at Turner Field.

Worth noting
• Braves catcher Evan Gattis enters Friday with a 12-game hitting streak. Gattis entered Thursday's game against the Rockies after Gerald Laird was injured in the eighth. Gattis' only plate appearance was in the ninth, when he was hit by a pitch, but official rules determined a consecutive-game hitting streak does not come to an end if a batter's only plate appearance results in being hit by a pitch.

• Pujols finished 2-for-4 on Wednesday for his first multi-hit game since May 24. Comments