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Angels 5, Rangers 4

The SportsXchange

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- First, Mike Trout made a game-saving catch in the ninth inning, then Howie Kendrick won it in the 11th inning with a walk-off home run that lifted the Los Angeles Angels to a 5-4 win over the Texas Rangers Tuesday night at Angel Stadium.

The home run was Kendrick's second of the game after hitting just one all season before Tuesday. The game-winner came with one out off Rangers reliever Joe Ortiz, and it wouldn't have been possible if not for Trout's catch in the ninth.

It wasn't Trout's first highlight reel catch of the season, but the timing made it all the more spectacular. Playing left field, Trout made a diving catch just a few feet from the short fence near the left field foul pole, robbing Adrian Beltre of extra bases and more importantly, what would have been a go-ahead RBI. As it was, the catch was the third out of the top of the ninth inning, keeping the Angels and Rangers tied at 4.

Angels reliever Dane De La Rosa pitched two scoreless innings to earn the victory.

The Angels missed a golden opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the 10th, loading the bases with one out and Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton due up. Rangers manager Ron Washington summoned Ortiz from the bullpen and Ortiz escaped. First, he got Pujols to hit a grounder to third, and Luis Jimenez was forced at the plate. Then he got Hamilton on a grounder to second to end the inning, Ortiz celebrating with a fist pump.

Angels starting pitcher Jason Vargas sailed through five innings with a 4-0 lead, but things got tight in the sixth. Elvis Andrus led off the inning with a single and Lance Berkman walked. They moved up to second and third when Beltre grounded out to second, bringing up Nelson Cruz. Cruz worked the count full, then hammered a hanging breaking ball over the fence in left-center field for a three-run home run, cutting the Angels' lead to 4-3.

The Rangers tied the game in the eighth inning against Angels reliever Scott Downs, but it wasn't all Downs' fault. The Rangers had runners on first and third with no outs on a single by Beltre and an error by shortstop Andrew Romine. A.J. Pierzynski followed with a sharp grounder to Mark Trumbo at first. Beltre broke from third halfway to the plate, then stopped. But Trumbo immediately threw home, allowing Beltre to return to third and Pierzynski to reach first, loading the bases.

The Rangers scored to tie the game at 4-4 when David Murphy grounded into a 4-6-3 double play, but Downs escaped further damage by striking out Mitch Moreland to end the inning.

The Angels caught a break and scored two runs in the first inning off Rangers starter Alexi Ogando. Mike Trout struck out swinging at a pitch in the dirt for what would have been the second out of the inning, but Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski couldn't handle the ball, and his throw to first baseman Mitch Moreland was in the dirt. Moreland couldn't dig the ball out and was charged with an error.

Albert Pujols followed with a walk, and one out later, Mark Trumbo and Howie Kendrick each had RBI singles with two outs.

The Angels increased their lead to 4-0 in the fourth inning after a double by Trumbo and a two-run homer by Kendrick, his second of the season.

Angels starter Jason Vargas kept the Rangers offense in check in the early innings, and got help from his infield defense, which turned double plays in the second and third innings. Vargas gave up three hits through five innings, two of the hits by Moreland.

NOTES: Rangers RHP Matt Harrison had surgery Tuesday to repair a herniated disc in his lower back. No other problems were found and Harrison, the Rangers' opening day starter, is expected to miss three months. ... Angels SS Erick Aybar (bruised left heel) is not expected to be activated Thursday when he's eligible to come off the disabled list. He likely will play a few games at extended spring training in Arizona before being activated sometime next week. ... Angels RF Josh Hamilton was back in the cleanup spot Tuesday after getting four hits in the No. 5 spot Monday. "I don't know what it is about the five hole, but it seemed to work," Hamilton said. "The pitcher isn't going to pitch me any differently, and I'm not going to try anything different. But I like that it worked." ... Angels LHP Nick Maronde was called up from Class AA Arkansas Tuesday in an effort to fortify the bullpen. RHP Jerome Williams is expected to leave the bullpen in order to start Wednesday's game against the Rangers. Williams is taking the place of RHP Tommy Hanson, who is on the bereavement list following a death in the family. ... In order to make room for Maronde on the roster, INF Tommy Field was optioned to Class AAA Salt Lake. ... Rangers OF David Murphy was 1-for-19 against the Angels' starter Tuesday, LHP Jason Vargas, so he began the game on the bench. OF Jeff Baker got the start in left field instead, but he bruised his left leg in the bottom of the first inning making a sliding catch and slamming into the short wall near the foul pole. He had to leave the game, and Murphy replaced him.

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