The Anaheim right-hander snapped a streak of 10 straight losing decisions against Texas, that spanned more than seven years, and David Eckstein matched a career high with four hits as the Angels defeated the Rangers 10-6 Thursday night.
“That’s a long time to go without beating somebody,” Appier said. “I’m always determined (to beat the Rangers) but this time it worked out.”
Appier (7-6) posted his first victory against the Rangers since May 23, 1996, when he was with Kansas City. He allowed two runs and four hits in six innings, including two solo homers when he tired in the sixth on a hot, windy night.
“He did a terrific job against a lineup that gives him trouble,” Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia said. “He was spotting his fastball well and got ahead of a lot of hitters. There was a warm breeze out there tonight and that may have taken a little out of him.”
Eckstein went 4-for-5 with a walk and two RBIs, and Scott Spiezio had three RBIs for the Angels, who won for just the second time in eight games since the All-Star break.
The Rangers allowed four unearned runs and were guilty of two errors, a balk and several other misplays as they lost for the eighth time in 11 games.
They rallied briefly in the ninth, cutting Anaheim’s lead to 10-5 on Jason Jones’ solo homer—the first of his career—and loading the bases. But Troy Percival came in and allowed just one of the runners to score, getting three outs for his 22nd save in 23 chances.
“Some good things went on, but we gave them four or five runs on physical and mental mistakes,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “You can’t do that against a good club. There was a game there to be won.”
Shaky Texas defense, including a mental mistake by starter Joaquin Benoit, contributed to Anaheim’s three-run third inning.
Bengie Molina put the Angels ahead 1-0 with a one-out RBI single. With runners on first and third, Adam Kennedy followed with a grounder back to Benoit, who could have had Jeff DaVanon had he thrown home.
Instead, Benoit ignored DaVanon, throwing to second for a force. Shortstop Alex Rodriguez had no chance to turn a double play and DaVanon scored.
Kennedy stole second without a throw when Texas catcher Einar Diaz dropped the pitch, and Eckstein’s double made it 3-0.
Benoit (5-5) struggled through 3 2-3 innings, giving up five runs and seven hits.
Showalter indicated that Benoit’s spot in the rotation could be in jeopardy.
“The opportunity is there,” Showalter said. “But it’s not going to always be there. You’ve got to take advantage of it.”
In the third, Spiezio hit an RBI triple and scored on Benoit’s balk to extend the lead to 5-0. More sloppy defense in the fifth helped the Angels to a 6-0 lead. With runners at second and third, Kennedy hit a grounder that reliever Ron Mahay booted for an error as a run scored.
Texas got back-to-back solo homers with two out in the sixth from Hank Blalock and Alex Rodriguez. Blalock’s homer was his 16th, and Rodriguez’s was his 24th—eighth against Anaheim this season.
“The home run pitches weren’t horrible,” Appier said. “I missed by a little bit and it doesn’t take much with (the Rangers).”
In the eighth, Eckstein walked and scored when Darin Erstad hit a line drive to left field that Nix misjudged for a two-base error. Spiezio added a two-run double to make it 9-3.
Rafael Palmeiro’s sacrifice fly in the eighth reduced Anaheim’s lead to 9-4,but Eckstein’s RBI single in the ninth put the Angels back up by six.
Appier had two strikeouts, leaving him 14 short of 2,000 for his career. … Texas leads the season series 7-6. … The Rangers had consecutive homers for the sixth time this season. … Rodriguez is 9-for-18 in his last five games. … After the game, the Angels optioned OF Chone Figgins toTriple-A Salt Lake and recalled OF Alfredo Amezaga from Salt Lake.