Angels 5, Rangers 4
Adam Kennedy’s one-out double in the ninth inning drove in Darin Erstad with the tying run, and pinch-runner Maicer Izturis scored the winner on the botched relay from the outfield to rally the Angels to a 5-4 victory over the Rangers on Tuesday night.
“Those are fun games,” Erstad said. “We keep playing till the end. They’re a dangerous team, and they’re a tough team to keep down. It’s pretty much Murderer’s Row when you’re going against them. Fortunately, we’ve got good pitching.”
The two-time AL West division champions have won eight straight over the Rangers, 13 of 15, and each of the last nine meetings in Anaheim. Texas tied the franchise record for most consecutive defeats in one opponent’s ballpark.
Rangers closer Francisco Cordero (0-1) nicked Erstad with a 3-2 pitch leading off the ninth and Casey Kotchman followed with an opposite-field single. After Izturis ran for Kotchman, rookie Jeff Mathis tried to advance the runners, but popped up a bunt to Cordero.
Kennedy lined the next pitch into the right field corner as Erstad scored. New third base coach Dino Ebel held up Izturis at third, then waved him home when second baseman D’Angelo Jimenez mishandled the relay from Adrian Brown for an error.
J.C. Romero (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the victory.
“It shows a lot of character whenever you can win games coming from behind like that,” Romero said. “They played us tough the whole game and got some key hits early, but we battled through it and didn’t give in.”
Jimenez entered the contest in the second inning after rookie second baseman Ian Kinsler dislocated his left thumb while getting thrown out trying to steal second base in the top of the inning. Kinsler’s thumb was placed in a splint and will be reset Wednesday. He will probably go on the disabled list.
Blalock recorded his sixth career two-homer game and third against the Angels. He connected his first two times against Jeff Weaver, who allowed four runs and nine hits over six-plus innings in his home debut with Los Angeles.
Rick Bauer allowed a run and five hits over 5 1-3 innings in his 10th big league start and first since Oct. 3, 2004. The right-hander was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma last Friday, when R.A. Dickey was sent down one day after giving up six home runs in less than four innings against the Detroit Tigers.
“I threw good and kept the team in the game,” Bauer said. “That’s all you can ask for from a starter. So I’m happy about the outing, but it would have been nice for the team to win because we’re kind of scuffling right now.”
Vladimir Guerrero went 4-for-4, including three singles against Bauer, and has hit safely in all 38 career games against Texas—the longest streak by any player against one team since the start of divisional play in 1969. The 2004 AL MVP is batting .453 with 13 homers and 30 RBIs against the Rangers.
“I don’t care what kind of streak he’s got. You just try and keep him in the ballpark,” Bauer said. “If he hits a single, I’m happy with that. Hopefully, he comes up with nobody on.”
The Angels narrowed the gap to 4-3 in the seventh with Kotchman’s RBI double and Chone Figgins’ sacrifice fly. Akinori Otsuka pitched a scoreless eighth with the help of Brown, who made a diving backhanded catch of Garret Anderson’s sinking liner in the gap and relayed to first base to double up Guerrero.
“Even though we were pretty much showing some life all through the game, we couldn’t get that key hit until the end,” Romero said. “Adam Kennedy had a good at-bat, and we did the little things to come up with this win. Jeff Weaver battled and gave us a chance and changed their momentum a little bit.”
The Angels took a 1-0 lead in the first when Anderson hit an RBI double just over the outstretched glove of center fielder Laynce Nix at the fence.
Texas manager Buck Showalter shuffled his lineup after watching his team produce just nine runs over the previous four games. The switch-hitting Brown started in right field instead of Kevin Mench and batted leadoff instead of Brad Wilkerson, who was dropped to seventh in the order after going 6-for-36 with 16 strikeouts in his first eight contests.
Gold Glove first baseman Mark Teixeira, who turned 26 years old on Tuesday, was the DH because of a sore ring finger on his glove hand—the result of a line-drive off Anderson’s bat in Monday’s 5-2 loss.
Anderson has 19 RBIs in his last 19 games against the Rangers. … Nix singled in the seventh after starting the season in an 0-for-20 drought. … The Angels have outscored the Rangers 29-5 in the first inning during their last 15 meetings.