ANAHEIM, Calif. - Three hours after outfielder Nelson Cruz had an emotional meeting with his teammates, the Texas Rangers went out and beat the Los Angeles Angels 5-2 Monday night at Angel Stadium.
Cruz was suspended for 50 games Monday for violating Major League Baseball's drug policy, but the Rangers didn't miss their home run and RBI leader, at least for one night. Adrian Beltre homered and Elvis Andrus had a two-run triple in support of starting pitcher Martin Perez (4-3), who gave up two runs and four hits in 6 1/3 innings to earn the victory.
The win moved the Rangers to within two games of idle Oakland in the American League West. Meanwhile, the Angels dropped 13 games behind Oakland in the division and 11 games behind Texas for the second wild-card spot.
It was a trying day all around for the Rangers, but they came together in the clubhouse before the game, and then on the field during the game. It's the only way to handle the situation, Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
"I don't look at it, I accept it, there's a difference," Washington said when asked how he is dealing with the situation involving Cruz. "When you look at it, you do nothing about it. When you accept it, you do something about it. Just go play baseball. That's it. We can do that.
"We've got to stick together. We've been through adversity before and come out on the other side. This is no different. It's adversity. We've been there. If this was a shock to us and we'd never been there, it'd be a problem. But we've been there."
The Rangers had only seven hits in the game, six of which came off Angels starter Jerome Williams (5-8).
Beltre's homer was his 24th of the season and Jurickson Profar had two hits and an RBI. But the key hit of the game was Andrus' two-out, two-run triple in the fifth inning that snapped a 1-1 tie and gave the Rangers the lead for good.
Andrus' ball was hit to shallow right field, where second baseman Howie Kendrick and right fielder Collin Cowgill collided. Cowgill's arm hit Kendrick's left leg as Kendrick was planting his leg, which appeared to be hyperextended. Kendrick had to be helped off the field and was listed as day-to-day pending further tests.
Joe Nathan pitched the ninth for the Rangers for his 33rd save.
"We have to pick it up and play better and do some things better, and hopefully we will," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Nobody's feeling sorry for themselves in here. We know what we're up against."
The Angels took a 1-0 lead in the first inning against Perez when Mike Trout singled, stole second and scored on a double by Mark Trumbo. Trout has now reached base safely in 36 consecutive games.
Williams made that lead stand up for four innings, but in the fifth the Rangers finally broke through. Texas loaded the bases with one out
before Williams struck out Leonys Martin for the second out of the inning.
But the Rangers pushed across a run on a wild pitch, then added two more on the Andrus bloop triple.
NOTES: The Angels released RHP Ryan Madson, who was signed to a one-year, $3.25 million contract before the season but never was able to fully recover from Tommy John surgery, which was performed in April of 2012. ... Mark Trumbo has hit 25 home runs this season, joining Troy Glaus as the only players in Angels history to hit at least 25 homers in each of their first three seasons. Trumbo is on pace to hit 37 home runs; no Angel has hit as many as 40 homers in a season other than Glaus, who did it twice (47 in 2000, 41 in 2001). ... Rangers RF Nelson Cruz began serving a 50-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's drug policy. Cruz will miss the rest of the regular season but would be eligible for the playoffs should the Rangers make it. Rangers manager Ron Washington indicated that Cruz would be welcomed back if the team makes the playoffs. ... The Rangers called up OFs Joey Butler and Engel Beltre from Class AAA Round Rock. Butler has played the entire season at Round Rock, hitting .290 with 10 home runs, 21 doubles and 44 RBIs in 97 games. Beltre was called up from Round Rock only three days after being optioned there from the big club. He will get some playing time in the outfield to help fill the void created by the suspension of Cruz. In 13 games for the Rangers this season, Beltre is hitting .300 (9 for 30).