ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—The Los Angeles Angels weren’t strutting after sweeping their closest pursuer in the AL West, and the Texas Rangers weren’t as down as they might have been had this happened in September.
“It’s not about getting in anybody’s heads, or thinking you have anybody’s number,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “This season wasn’t going to be made or broke on this series.
“We’re fortunate that we played well these three games, but that’s a terrific club over there and they’re going to be there all the way through. So there’s a huge challenge ahead of us.”
Juan Rivera and Bengie Molina homered for the defending AL West champions, who have won seven of nine this season against Texas. The Rangers are a season-worst 4 1/2 games out of first following their 10th loss in 15 games.
“It’s not discouraging at all for us,” Texas catcher Rod Barajas said. “We didn’t come in here a hot team, anyway. We weren’t pitching that great and we weren’t swinging the bat that great. We weren’t at the top of our game this time, and they won the series. But it’s just one series. The next time we play them, this will be in our minds and we’ll go after them.”
Texas’ three starting pitchers in the series—Rogers, Chan Ho Park and rookie Chris Young—entered with a combined 22-6 record. Collectively, they surrendered 19 runs and 30 hits in 9 1-3 innings against the Angels.
“You can’t put too much emphasis on statistics,” Angels left fielder Garret Anderson said. “Yeah, we’re playing good right now and they didn’t hit like I know they’re very capable of. But they’re going to brush it off and move on, because we’re going to see them next week at their place.”
Washburn (4-3) allowed five hits over seven innings. He won for the first time in 11 starts at Anaheim since July 15. The left—hander had lost six straight decisions at Angel Stadium in that span.
“It feels good to win anytime, whether it’s on the road or at home,” Washburn said. “But it’s been way too long since the last one here, so it definitely feels good—especially against that team.
“They’re an aggressive lineup with a group of very good hitters. I think we caught them at a very good time, with Michael Young at home for the birth of his kid. I hope all goes well with that, but I was happy he wasn’t in the lineup the last couple of days.”
One night after handing Park his first loss in seven decisions spanning 11 starts, the Angels sent Rogers (9-3) to his first defeat in 11 starts stretching back to Tampa Bay’s 3-2 victory over him on April 21. The nine consecutive wins were a career best for the left-hander, and three short of Bobby Witt’s club record.
Rogers allowed six runs, 10 hits and three walks in 3 1-3 innings. It was his shortest start since July 10, 2004, when he lasted only 1 2-3 innings at Boston in a 14-6 loss that snapped another streak of eight straight winning decisions.
“He made mistakes and left some pitches over the plate,” Barajas said. “When you’re not an overpowering guy and you do that, you’re going to get hurt. Kenny wasn’t as sharp as usual and he gave up a lot more runs than he normally does. But that’s not going to happen too often.”
The Angels, who scored 11 first-inning runs during the series, took a 4-0 lead before Rogers could record his third out. They got five consecutive two-out hits, including Molina’s RBI single and Rivera’s three-run homer to left-center on an 0-2 pitch.
Molina led off the third with a homer to left-center. It was his sixth this season and fourth of his career against Rogers, who has been taken deep in four of his last five outings. He allowed one homer in his first 10 starts spanning 69 1-3 innings.
Rivera, getting the start in center field hours after Steve Finley was placed on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder, chased Rogers in the fourth with a bases loaded RBI single that made it 6-0.
Darin Erstad was 0-for-2 with two walks, ending his career-best hitting streak—and the longest in the majors this season—at 21 games. He scored both times Rogers walked him.
“He really doesn’t care because we won. That’s the kind of guy he is,” Washburn said. “He did his part to help us win and got a couple of walks to get things going. That’s what he does. He loves to win and does whatever he had to do to help the team.”
Vladimir Guerrero’s two hits extended his hitting streak against the Rangers to 27 games, the longest by any active player against one team. … Angels SS Orlando Cabrera didn’t start for the third straight game because of his sore right elbow. … Texas DH Marshall McDougall singled in the fifth for his first big league hit.