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LAA@KC: Blanton fans Butler to end the threat

Everything seemed to be going right for the Angels during their eight-game win streak. However, that all came to a screeching halt on Monday night against the Dodgers.

That streak was snapped when the Halos couldn't hold onto a 6-1 lead, eventually taking an 8-7 loss.

Now, the Angels will try to turn the page and regroup for Tuesday's Freeway Series matchup against the Dodgers at Chavez Ravine.

Angels manager Mike Scioscia is still confident in his team's abilities even after that frustrating defeat.

"We're playing better. That's what our focus is," Scioscia said. "We were in a long tailspin early, couldn't do the things we needed to do to win games. Now we are and the results are better."

Joe Blanton, who pitched for the Dodgers during the 2012 season, will be on the hill for the Angels. He got his first win of the season on Thursday against the Royals, allowing two runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Manager Don Mattingly isn't taking a different approach just because this is an Interleague set.

"It's not like we're playing an American League team we don't know," he said. "When we play the Angels, we know these guys pretty good. Joe we knew from Philly. We do know him a little bit. So at least we've had at-bats. It's not like facing a kid you don't know."

Coming into Thursday's game with a 0-7 record and 6.62 ERA, Blanton was able to keep hitters off balance, mixing in a cutter on occasion.

"Joe has pitched some strong games and maybe hasn't benefitted from run support," Scioscia said. "He really pitched with his back to the wall for much of the game. There's no doubt that getting him pitching to his capabilities is important to us. It's good for him to get the first win."

Those types of strong pitching performances have been commonplace for Hyun-Jin Ryu, who will start for the Dodgers. He's tossed at least six innings in nine of his 10 starts this season.

The left-hander allowed two runs on five hits in 7 1/3 innings on Wednesday against the Brewers to pick up his fifth win of the season. Three of those wins have been at home, where Ryu is 3-1 with a 2.13 ERA in four starts.

Ryu has struck out fewer than six in each of his four starts in May after striking out at least six in five consecutive starts in April.

Angels: Hanson to return to Halos soon
Right-hander Tommy Hanson's next start is expected to come with the Angels, Scioscia said on Monday.

Hanson threw a five-inning, 75-pitch simulated game on Saturday in Arizona and could start Friday's series opener against the Astros, if Scioscia decides to keep Blanton in the rotation.

Hanson's next turn through the order would usually line up for Thursday's series finale against the Dodgers, but Jason Vargas is starting that game on extended rest to accommodate Jered Weaver's return on Wednesday.

Hanson, 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA in five starts, has been on the restricted list since May 10 to deal with the aftermath of his step-brother's death.

Dodgers: Hairston activated; Gordon optioned
With shortstop Hanley Ramirez close to returning to the lineup, the Dodgers decided to option shortstop Dee Gordon to Triple-A Albuquerque on Monday to clear a roster spot to activate utility man Jerry Hairston off the 15-day disabled list.

Nick Punto is expected to get most of the starts at shortstop until Ramirez retursn, but he was dinged up during a second-inning collision at second base with Angels baserunner Erick Aybar on Monday night. Punto had to leave the game in the fifth with a lower back bruise.

Ramirez has begun running the bases, the final hurdle before he goes out on a rehab assignment for his hamstring pull. Punto and Luis Cruz will be used at shortstop until Ramirez returns.

"We do feel like Hanley is fairly close," Mattingly said. "He's close enough."

Worth noting
• In six career starts against the Dodgers, Blanton is 2-0 with a 3.26 ERA. In his last start against the Dodgers on July 16, he allowed two runs on six hits in eight inning of work for the win.

• Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez is 9-for-14 with two home runs, four doubles and seven RBIs during the Dodgers' current homestand. He went 4-for-4 with four runs scored on Monday. Comments