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Scherzer strikes out seven, allows one run

Since the start of the second half of the season, the Angels haven't quite been the same team that ended the first half.

In the six games after the All-Star break, the Angels are 2-4, and aside from Tuesday's 13-0 win against the Tigers, they have given up no fewer than five runs in each game.

To try to fine-tune a band that hasn't quite found its rhythm, the Angels will send right-hander Jerome Williams to the mound in the series finale against the Tigers on Thursday. In his first start since coming off the disabled list, Williams allowed five runs in seven innings against the Yankees.

Williams is 0-4 with a 7.54 ERA during his last four starts, but he came out of his last outing with no signs of the breathing issues that laded him on the DL.

"I'm trying to get past that right now," Williams said. "Everything's fine with the breathing and everything. I'm just trying to get past that and want to concentrate on throwing the ball well."

Opposing Williams will be right-hander Max Scherzer for the Tigers. On Saturday against the Orioles, he allowed four runs on nine hits and two walks in only five innings. It snapped a streak of five consecutive quality starts.

Scherzer is 8-5 with a 4.84 ERA and hasn't faced the Angels since 2009, when he gave up eight runs (three earned) in 4 1/3 innings.

Tigers: Peralta making more of an impact
Before the All-Star break, Tigers manager Jim Leyland said Jhonny Peralta was one player who needed to make more noise in the lineup. And during June and into July, it seems the shortstop is listening.

Over the past month and a half, Peralta is batting .300. Though his average on the season is .266, he has come a long way since hitting .246 in April and .241 in May.

"I started really slow and everything," Peralta said. "It happened to a lot of the players and I never gave up. I try to keep working hard every day and be positive. And that's what I'm doing right now. ... I try to look at the ball better, how the pitcher throws to me. And I hit a lot of balls good and everything. Sometimes [I didn't have] a lot of good luck. But I feel good."

Angels: Wells' status upon return unknown
With two 2012 All-Stars and a former All-Star and Gold Glove winner, the Angels post one of the most dangerous outfields in the Major Leagues in Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo and Torii Hunter.

But what the Angels will do when Vernon Wells, who will make $21 million in 2013 and '14, returns from right hand surgery remains a question.

Before Wells was injured, the Angels were 27th in the Majors in runs per game (3.64) and tied for 22nd with a .686 OPS (on-base plus slugging). Since he went on the DL on May 21, they're tied for first in runs per game (5.35) and are second in OPS (.821).

Though Wells' injury also correlated with the improvement of Albert Pujols at the plate and Trout's arrival, he may simply end up being one of the most expensive bench players in the league upon his return.

"We're going to look at the situation presented when Vernon's healthy and back and ready to go, but I think Vernon understands the situation," Scioscia said. "With the way Mike and Mark are playing, they're going to be out there every day, and we'll see how everything else folds in."

Worth noting
• The Tigers have won 12 of 17 games since June 28 and lead the American League with a .706 winning percentage during that stretch.

• Though they tossed two scoreless innings on Wednesday, the Angels' bullpen has been uncharacteristically human of late. After posting a 2.40 ERA from May-June, Angels' relievers have a 4.85 ERA in July (21 runs in 39 innings), including blowing two three-run leads in two of the four losses since the All-Star break. The bullpen has an ERA of 9.00 ERA during this road trip.

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