Rangers 7, Angels 6
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—Nelson Cruz picked a great time to hit his first homer of the season.
The slumping Cruz, who started the day with a .190 average, took advantage of wind blowing out to right field when he knocked an 0-1 slider from Scot Shields (0-2) into the Texas bullpen.
“I needed it for my confidence, but the most important thing was that it helped the team win a game,” Cruz said.
The Rangers beat the Angels for the first time this year after five straight losses. Los Angeles has won 37 of the last 53 meetings with its AL West rival.
“Nobody wants to go 0-6 against a team you’re chasing in your division,” Mark Teixeira said. “Hopefully, this will pick us up.”
Eric Gagne (1-0) worked a scoreless ninth for his first win since June 10, 2005, with the Los Angeles Dodgers against Minnesota. Ian Kinsler, Hank Blalock and Brad Wilkerson also homered for the Rangers.
Gary Matthews Jr. went 3-for-4 with two homers and four RBIs for the Angels against his former team. He connected from both sides of the plate.
Shea Hillenbrand and Mike Napoli hit consecutive homers in the fourth for Los Angeles, and Casey Kotchman also had three hits. Vladimir Guerrero went 2-for-4 and has hit safely in 56 of 60 career games against Texas.
Angels reliever Hector Carrasco and manager Mike Scioscia were ejected by plate umpire Alfonso Marquez with the score tied at 6 in the seventh after Carrasco hit Kinsler in the helmet with a slow curve.
Carrasco called the ejection “unbelievable.”
“It was a breaking pitch. I’m not going to hit somebody in the head in that situation. If I’m going to hit him, I’d hit him in the leg or the arm,” Carrasco said. “But he said I hit (Kinsler) on purpose. I still don’t understand why he threw me out. What a bad call he made. When he sees the replay, he’ll know he made a bad decision.”
But Marquez said that when a player is hit in the head by a pitch, action must be taken.
“Where do you draw the line and say, well, I think it just slipped? I don’t know that,” Marquez said.
After several beanballs, the teams had a brawl last season. Carrasco said Sunday’s ejections might have stemmed from last year’s trouble.
“We had a fight with them last year, that probably had something to do with it,” Carrasco said.
Scioscia was tossed for the second time this season and 18th in his career after running onto the field to argue with Marquez over Carrasco’s ejection.
Rangers reliever Joaquin Benoit had plunked Matthews in the hip area in the top of the seventh. Matthews glared at his former teammate before going to first base.
Marquez did not issue a warning to the dugouts after Matthews was hit.
“To not find intent with Benoit and then find it with Carrasco on a 70-something mph breaking ball that slipped out of his hand is ridiculous,” Scioscia said.
Matthews, who revived his career with the Rangers the past three seasons before signing a free-agent deal with the Angels last November, hit two-run homers in the first and fifth.
The Angels jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first against Mike Wood on Matthews’ first homer of the day.
In the third, Kinsler snapped an 0-for-15 slide with his 10th homer, a two-run shot, and Teixeira added an RBI double to give Texas a 3-2 advantage. Teixeira stretched his hitting streak to 11 games, the longest by a Rangers player this season.
Teixeira also surpassed Alex Rodriguez’s club record by playing in his 483rd straight game.
Hillenbrand hit his first homer in the fourth and Napoli followed with his second to put the Angels in front 4-3.
Blalock’s solo drive off starter Ervin Santana in the fourth—his third— tied it at 4.
Wilkerson’s two-run shot in the sixth—his fifth—tied it at 6.
Wood allowed five runs and seven hits in four innings. Santana gave up six runs and eight hits in six innings.
The Angels loaded the bases with none out in the seventh against Benoit, but he retired the next three batters on two popups and a groundout to keep the game tied at 6.
Teixeira has the second-longest active streak in the major leagues behind Baltimore shortstop Miguel Tejada, who played in his 1,118th straight game Sunday. … Matthews had his second career multihomer game. Each time he’s gone deep from both sides of the plate. … The Angels turned a rare double play in the second. With Sammy Sosa on first and one out, Wilkerson hit a fly ball to deep center that was caught by Matthews. Sosa tagged up and went to second, but was called out for leaving first base too soon. … Reggie Willits of the Angels has hit safely in 18 of his last 19 games. … For the second straight day, fans in the upper deck were told to move to lower seating areas because of the threat of lightning from storm clouds. But as was the case on Saturday, rain never fell.
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