Rangers 6, Angels 1
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—The Texas Rangers are making believers of their rivals in the AL West.
Michael Young hit a leadoff homer, Gary Matthews Jr. added a three-run shot and Ryan Drese earned his first road win of the season, leading Texas to a 6-1 victory over the Anaheim Angels on Monday night in the opener of a three-game series.
“I think everyone spelled it out about what would happen if that team got pitching,” Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia said. “Now you’re seeing a team that’s getting the pitching, and you’re seeing the results. I think it’s even surprising some of the guys in that organization. So they’re going to be there for the long run.”
The AL West-leading Rangers, bouncing back from consecutive losses against second-place Oakland, improved to 7-3 this season against the third-place Angels and put Anaheim five games off the pace. The Athletics remained 2 1/2 games back after beating Seattle.
Drese (7-5) outpitched Kelvim Escobar for the second time in six days, allowing a run and 10 hits over 6 2-3 innings against a starting lineup missing ailing sluggers Vladimir Guerrero and Garret Anderson.
The Texas right-hander, who has given up no more than two earned runs in eight of his last 11 starts, struck out two, walked none and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the second to win his third straight start.
“Ryan threw a lot of groundballs and kept it in the ballpark. That’s what he’s been doing for us most of the year,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “Anytime you’re fortunate enough to catch them without Garret and Vladimir in the lineup, you hope you can take advantage of it. It won’t happen much, so we were lucky.”
Anderson, limited to one at-bat in the previous three games because of a groin strain, pinch-hit in the eighth against Frank Francisco with runners at first and second and looked at a third strike on the inside corner.
“I don’t have a problem swinging a bat, it’s just running that’s the problem,” Anderson said. “So if I can’t run, I can’t play the whole game. I just took a chance right there, trying to get a hit.”
Escobar (5-8) lost for the sixth time in seven decisions, equaling a season worst with six earned runs allowed. The right-hander gave up eight hits over 7 1-3 innings, struck out eight and walked three. It was only the third time in his last 17 starts that Escobar yielded more than three earned runs.
“Three pitches hurt him,” pitching coach Bud Black said. “Usually a home run leading off the game doesn’t beat you. The other two, obviously he would like to have back, but you can’t second-guess the selection. Granted, he gave up six runs—but for me, he pitched a lot better than his line would indicate.”
Young drove a fastball into the left-field bullpen on Escobar’s second pitch for his eighth career leadoff homer and 14th home run this season. The Rangers increased the margin to 3-0 in the fourth on Matthews’ double, a walk and a two-run double by Laynce Nix that ended his 2-for-21 slump.
Matthews jammed his wrist sliding into second on his double. But it didn’t affect him in the fifth, when he drove a 2-2 slider into the first row of seats above the 18-foot wall in right field for a 6-0 lead.
“The clubhouse atmosphere is really loose,” said reliever Jeff Nelson, who got two outs after coming off the 60-day disabled list. “We’ve got a good mix in here, and that just carries over when you go out between the lines because you know that everybody’s pulling for each other.”
Jose Guillen drove in Anaheim’s run with a fifth-inning single. Guillen started in right field instead of left because of Guerrero’s bruised right wrist.
The Angels reached the 2 million mark in home attendance in a club-record 48 home dates, after drawing 3 million last season for the first time in franchise history. … Drese began this season in the minors. … Young’s previous homer on July 8 also was a leadoff shot in the first inning, sparking a 10-0 rout at Cleveland. … Twelve of Teixeira’s last 16 hits have gone for extra bases. … Alfonso Soriano’s first-inning single ended an 0-for-15 drought. … Kenny Rogers’ start against the Angels on Wednesday night will come on the 10th anniversary of his perfect game against them.