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HOU@LAA: Williams allows three hits over seven frames

Jason Vargas was scheduled to start Saturday against the Pirates, but the left-hander was placed on the disabled list with a blood clot on Friday.

The Angels will turn to Jerome Williams (5-2, 3.14 ERA), who has made seven starts for the Angels this season and last pitched three innings of relief on June 16. While in the rotation, he put together a string of five straight quality starts.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle insists the Angels are capable of more than they've shown, though it's safe to say he'll be satisfied watching their revival from afar.

"They're finding their way," Hurdle said. "They've gone to great lengths to put a good club together. My goodness, they can put runs on the board. We've got to pitch them aggressively."

It didn't happen Friday. Hurdle's club kept the Angels at bay the series opener in Anaheim, winning 5-2 behind 6 1/3 innings of four-hit ball from Orange County native Gerrit Cole.

For the second time this week, the Angels followed an offensive outburst with a less-than-stellar performance, as they were unable to replicate the blueprint that saw the team score 10 times on 17 hits Thursday.

They'll look to bounce back against Pittsburgh starter Francisco Liriano, who made just two major mistakes in his last outing Monday against the Reds. Unfortunately for him, they led to the first two homers he's allowed this year in his eighth start of the season. He's 5-3 with a 2.44 ERA.

The former Minnesota Twins left-hander is 1-3 with a 7.06 ERA at Angel Stadium.

Pirates: Gomez's next start should be in bigs
After Jeanmar Gomez's successful rehab start for Triple-A Indianapolis on Wednesday, his next trip to the mound could be with the Pirates.

"Right now, I don't think so," Hurdle said when asked if Gomez will make another rehab start. "We'll see how he feels when we get our hands on him. He could be very well close to getting back in the mix."

Gomez tossed five no-hit innings for the Indians on Wednesday, striking out four and walking one. Hurdle was mostly pleased with Gomez's efficiency, as the right-hander found himself in just two three-ball counts. After his outing, Gomez went to the bullpen and threw 18 pitches to get to the 70-pitch mark.

If he's not used in relief this weekend against the Angels, he'll likely start Wednesday in Seattle.

Angels: Hamilton out with sore wrist
Josh Hamilton will miss the weekend series against the Pirates because of a right wrist injury that flared up during an intense pregame hitting drill about 10 days ago.

Hamilton took a cortisone shot prior to Friday night's 5-2 Angels loss and expects to return for Tuesday's series opener in Detroit, which comes after a scheduled off-day. The right wrist was already a little sensitive due to a sprain he suffered in 2007, which forced him to miss a little over a month.

Hamilton is batting .171 in June and has a .207/.262/.378 slash line for the season. He stayed away from pregame activity on Friday and will do the same Saturday and Sunday.

Asked how much the wrist issue might have affected his hitting, Hamilton said: "Not as much initially getting to hit, as far as the hitting part. It's the deceleration or swing and miss. Yeah, I wish I could blame it on that."

Brad Hawpe started in Hamilton's place in right field on Friday, batting seventh.

Worth noting
• The Pirates opened this series having lost 14 of their last 16 West Coast (LA, SD, SF) games since 2011.

• Saturday will be the Angels' ninth contest (5-3) of their longest homestand of the season.

• Over the club's last nine games (6-3 record), the Angels are batting .329 (102-for-310) with 51 runs scored and 22 extra-base hits (12 doubles, one triple, nine home runs). Comments