Rangers 6, Angels 5

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—A couple of years after he thought his baseball career might be finished, Tony Mounce got his first major league victory.

The Rangers rookie gave up three runs on six hits, and Hank Blalock hit a pair of solo homers and doubled as Texas beat the Anaheim Angels 6-5 Thursday night.

The 28-year-old Mounce, who spent a decade in the minors, missed all of the 2001 season and part of the next after having reconstructive surgery on his left elbow. So his first big league win was extra special.

“It’s a huge milestone, super exciting. It’s as exciting as when I got called up. It’s overwhelming to beat the Angels, the world champions,” said Mounce, who was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma on June 13 and was making his fifth start in the majors.

“When I missed 1 1/2 seasons, I was concerned I would never pitch again. But I was mentally strong enough for the challenge.”

Mounce (1-2) had given up 14 walks in his previous four starts. But he walked none in 5 1-3 innings and struck out two in a win that gave Texas a split of their four-game series in Anaheim.

“I decided to challenge the hitters. I’d rather give them a knock than give them a walk,” he said. “(Pitching coach) Orel Hershiser told me to stand taller and drive the ball down.”

Blalock homered off Kevin Appier in the first inning and against Scot Shields in the sixth, his 14th homer and first career multihomer game.

“It’s a big deal. I do not consider myself a home run hitter,” Blalock said. “It’s pretty rare—and to do it in a close game where it makes a difference.”

Appier (6-5) lost his 10th straight decision to the Rangers, dating to May 23, 1996, when he was with Kansas City. Appier gave up five runs on six hits in 2 2-3 innings, walking two and hitting a batter with a pitch.

“They had their way with me, as they have a lot over the last few years,” said Appier, who is 7-17 in 32 career starts against the Rangers. “I made a bad pitch to Blalock in the first inning. Then in the third, they hit some pretty good pitches. They can do that.

“I’ve been trying stuff against them. Maybe next time I’ll throw a knuckleball or something.”

Trailing 6-3, the Angels closed within a run in the seventh on Bengie Molina’s leadoff homer, his eighth, against Rosman Garcia, and pinch-hitter Jeff DaVanon’s RBI double.

Francisco Cordero came in to get the final out of the seventh and pitched a hitless eighth. Ugueth Urbina struck out two in a perfect ninth for his AL-leading 23rd save in 27 chances.

Juan Gonzalez hit a two-run single and Kevin Mench doubled home two runs as the Rangers scored four times off Appier in the third inning to take a 5-2 lead.

The Angels went up 2-1 in the bottom of the first on Tim Salmon’s RBI triple and Garret Anderson’s run-scoring grounder.

After Texas pulled ahead, the Angels cut the deficit to 6-3 on Troy Glaus‘RBI single in the fourth.

Notes

Texas RF Gonzalez, who has missed 13 of the Rangers’ last 22 games because of various ailments, started and had two hits after undergoing an MRI exam earlier in the day on his sore left quadriceps muscle. Results weren’t immediately available. Gonzalez said the muscle hurts when he runs. … Rangers RHP Jeff Zimmerman, on the disabled list all season following elbow surgery last summer, cut his simulated game short after feeling soreness in his right forearm. Zimmerman threw 23 pitches and stopped after facing two batters in the second inning. The soreness was not thought to be related to his elbow surgery, and he will be re-evaluated before throwing again. … Anaheim RHP Mickey Callaway, on the DL since June 6 with tendinitis in his shoulder, hopefully will be back on the mound for the Angels within a month, manager Mike Sciosciasaid, adding, “He’s on our radar.”

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