ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—Kevin Mench and his Texas teammates went to their strength Thursday: the long ball.
“We were able to outslug them,” Mench said.
During the game, Rangers owner Tom Hicks said Major League Baseball will decide whether to discipline Texas pitcher Kenny Rogers for an outburst Wednesday that sent a television cameraman to the hospital and prompted a police investigation. A decision could come Friday, and Hicks said a suspension was “probably likely.”
“At this point there’s nothing the Texas Rangers will or can do,” Hicks said. “We will support whatever the commissioner decides.”
Texas split the four-game series after losing the first two games by a combined score of 18-4. The Rangers trail the Angels by 6 1/2 games in the AL West.
“I’m happy with how these guys responded,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “They are one of the best teams in baseball. To beat them, we had to be firing on all cylinders.”
“It was a combination of things,” Mench said. “It was a hot day, there was a breeze, but we also put together some good at-bats.”
Teixeira took over the AL lead in homers with 22, two ahead of teammate Alfonso Soriano, who homered leading off the third inning, and the New York Yankees’ Alex Rodriguez. Teixeira hit two-run homers in the second and fifth innings. He has eight multihomer games, half of them this year.
Texas also hit eight homers on May 21 in an 18-3 win over the Houston Astros and have a major league-leading 128 home runs this season.
“We’re glad to be back in the race,” Mench said. “We know it’s going to be a dogfight all the way. I think it’s going to come down to the last day.”
Los Angeles went ahead in the first when Chone Figgins led off with a double and Maicer Izturis followed with a drive to right field that replays showed bounced off the top of the fence and off the back wall for what should have been a home run. First base umpire Tim Welke ruled the ball in play and Izturis ended up with a double that advanced Figgins to third.
“A lot of games are won or lost in the first inning,” Teixeira said. “If you give up seven, eight runs in the first, the game could have been over, so getting out of that inning giving up only one run was huge.”
Scioscia said right fielder Gary Matthews Jr. might have blocked Welke’s view of the play.
“It’s a tough call,” Scioscia said. “I don’t know if Matthews was in the umpire’s way, but it looked like it hit something behind the yellow line.”
Dellucci’s homer tied the score in the bottom half and Texas went ahead 6-1 in the second on RBI doubles by Sandy Alomar Jr. and Matthews, Dellucci’s run-scoring single and Teixeira’s first homer.
Vladimir Guerrero and Garret Anderson had back-to-back homers in the third. Guerrero has hit safely in 31 straight games against the Rangers, the longest streak against one team since Paul Molitor hit in 32 consecutive games against the Chicago White Sox from 1993-96.
Scioscia’s pitching staff kept the Rangers’ lineup in check over the first two games, allowing only four runs. But a shaky outing by Santana in his sixth career start left the Angels in a deep early hole.
“If you can pitch well, you can control them,” Scioscia said. “But we made a lot of mistakes because of our inexperience and the Rangers took advantage.”
Rodriguez had the Rangers’ previous three-homer game in 2002. … The Angels have scored at least one run in the first inning of their last seven games against the Rangers. Texas has been outscored 19-2 in the first during that span. … Soriano has at least 20 homers for the fourth straight season, becoming the fourth second baseman to reach the milestone. … Dellucci had his third leadoff homer this season.