Six-run sixth inning powers Angels
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)
Now that the Los Angeles Angels have ended the Texas Rangers' 12-game winning streak, their next objective is to win the rubber game of their three-game series and eventually pass the defending AL champions in the West Division standings.
There certainly is enough time to do it.
Howie Kendrick had three hits and four RBIs, including a tiebreaking two-run single, and the Angels rallied from five runs down for a 9-8 victory Wednesday night.
''These are the type of games that can turn things around,'' Angels left fielder Vernon Wells said. ''Obviously, tomorrow is a big game for us. We've got our work cut out for us with C.J. on the mound, but I like the guy we've got going, too. So it'll be a fun series finale. Hopefully we can end this thing the right way.''
The Angels, who lost the series opener 7-0, trail the Rangers by four games.
''I don't care how it comes to an end. A loss is a loss,'' designated hitter Michael Young said of the majors' longest winning streak this season. ''I'm not going to sit here and complain about the way it ended. We'll come out tomorrow ready to play. We're going to take the same approach no matter what happened the night before. In that sense, that's one of the biggest strengths of our team. We move on pretty easily.''
Torii Hunter homered for the Angels, whose six-run rally in the sixth inning wouldn't have been possible had it not been for two infield singles to shortstop by Mike Trout and Alberto Callaspo on close plays.
Rangers left-hander Derek Holland, coming off consecutive shutouts against Oakland and Seattle, took an 8-3 lead into the sixth before giving up hits to four of the five batters he faced - including RBI singles by Mark Trumbo and Trout and a run-scoring double by Erick Aybar.
''He's a good pitcher and a young guy who throws hard,'' Kendrick said. ''Early in the game he really wasn't missing a lot. He was making his pitches and getting guys out. But in the sixth inning he made a few mistakes and we were able to get to the bullpen a little early. That's where we won the game. But we have to focus on having good at-bats, no matter who's throwing.''
Bobby Abreu narrowed the gap to 8-7 with an RBI single against Tommy Hunter, and Kendrick put the Angels ahead to stay with his bases-loaded single with one out after a walk to Wells and Callaspo's hustling hit. The six-run inning equaled the Angels' biggest this season.
''You go out there in the sixth inning with an 8-3 lead and you don't expect to give it up,'' Rangers manager Ron Washington said. ''That team over there has a lot of pride and they're not going to quit. We didn't give it to them. They won it. They came out there in the sixth inning and showed what they were made of. They strung something together and we just couldn't stop it.
''They got two infield hits hustling down the line that inning. That's what hurt us. If we get those two outs, we're off the field with a lead. But Trout beat one out and then Callaspo beat one out. That was the real damage.''
Angels starter Dan Haren lasted only 4 1-3 innings and gave up a season-worst seven runs along with nine hits. Hisanori Takahashi (3-2) pitched 1 2-3 innings for the victory, Scott Downs worked two perfect innings and All-Star rookie Jordan Walden got three outs for his 22nd save in 28 chances, striking out Nelson Cruz with the potential tying run at third.
The Rangers grabbed an 8-3 lead with a five-run fifth. Josh Hamilton hit a go-ahead RBI single and Young drove in two with a double that chased Haren. David Murphy greeted Takahashi with a bloop single, and two more runs scored when Yorvit Torrealba hit a line drive to left that Wells appeared to have lost in the lights and had to chase back to the fence.
''The last 20 feet I couldn't see it, but it happens sometimes,'' Wells said. ''When you're going to your left, that ball gets in the lights. And that one stayed in the lights. I had no idea where it was, so you just hope it lands in your glove. Unfortunately, it didn't.''
Hamilton singled with two outs in the Rangers' first and scored on Adrian Beltre's double off the wall in right-center. The Angels responded in the bottom half with a bases-loaded two-run single by Kendrick. Those two runs matched the total number of runs the Rangers' pitching staff had allowed over their previous six games combined, a stretch that included four shutouts.
''It's good that we put runs up early, but the game's not won or lost in the first two innings, and you just have to play the whole game,'' Kendrick said. ''And that was definitely evident tonight.''
Hunter increased the Angels' lead to 3-1 in the third with his 12th homer, ending an 0-for-18 drought that began with his first at-bat following the All-Star break. But the Rangers pulled even in the fourth when Murphy hit a two-run homer after a single by Young.
''Obviously, I didn't have good stuff. But there's a lot of days where I pick the team up, and tonight they picked me up,'' Haren said. ''It looked like we were down and out when it was 8-3, and having a big win like this changes things.''
Notes: The only pitcher in Rangers history to throw three consecutive shutouts was knuckleballer Charlie Hough in 1983. His catcher in all three of those games was Jim Sundberg. ... Walden tied the rookie record for saves, which was set by Ken Tatum in 1969 - the first season that saves became an official statistic. Tatum pitched more than one inning in 15 of his saves. ... RHP Michael Kohn, who gave up home runs to Hamilton, Beltre and Endy Chavez during the final two innings of the Angels loss on Friday, was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake. 1B Kendrys Morales was transferred to the 60-day DL to make room on the 40-man roster for LHP Horacio Ramirez, whose contract was purchased from Salt Lake.