Rangers finally score, win with walk-off homer

Art Garcia, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

ARLINGTON -- Nothing like pair of home runs in the ninth to turn a team's mood around.
Geovany Soto hit the second of Texas Rangers' two bombs in their final at-bat, giving Texas a 4-3 walk-off victory over the Los Angeles Angels to start a three-game series at Rangers Ballpark. A.J. Pierzynski tied the game by leading off the inning with a solo blast off Angels closer Ernesto Frieri.
"We needed that game with all the offensive struggles of the last few weeks," Pierzynski said. "To have a game like that after the weekend in Cleveland was huge."
The Rangers (57-49) were swept by the Indians, getting shut out in the final two games of that series. Texas struggled for much of Monday against Jered Weaver before figuring out the Angels' bullpen.
"They came out tonight with intent, knowing the way we can play," Texas manager Ron Washington said of his team. "We just have to hold on to it."
Soto's shot with two outs off Frieri and just inside the left-field foul pole snapped Texas' four-game losing skid.
"Awesome for the team to come from behind and win a game like that," Soto said after his second career walk-off home run and first since 2011. "Hopefully, it can boost us up and we can keep it going."
Weaver went seven strong innings and Josh Hamilton drove in two runs against his former team. Weaver was back at Rangers Ballpark for the first time since fracturing his left elbow April 7 in Arlington. Texas managed just five hits off Weaver and struck out six times.
"Weave was terrific," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Even though they've been in a funk offensively, they're still dangerous."
The Rangers did score for the first time in three games by finally getting to Weaver in the sixth. Ian Kinsler's run-scoring single with two outs snapped their scoreless streak at 26 innings; Texas hadn't scored since the eighth inning of Friday's 11-inning loss at Cleveland.
Kinsler's hit to center, which brought Leonys Martin home, also ended Weaver's personal scoreless streak at 19 2/3 innings. Weaver limited the damage to one run, striking out Pierzynski with two on to end the inning.
Matt Garza was solid in his second outing for Texas and avoided the loss thanks to the team's late-inning rally. The former Chicago Cub had a quality start, going seven innings and allowing three runs. He gave up five hits and fanned six.
Texas narrowed the gap to 3-2 in the eighth with reliever Dane De La Rose on the hill. Kinsler's sacrifice fly scored Elvis Andrus, who had extended his hitting streak to 11 games earlier in the inning.
Los Angeles (48-56) has dropped seven of its last eight games. It was Frieri's third blown save in 28 chances this season.
"He's just run into a little bit of a rough patch," Scioscia said. "Hopefully, he'll get over it and be back where he should be."
The two starters -- Garza and Weaver -- came into the game with sub-3.00 ERAs, and it was obvious why. The two right-handers matched zeroes on the scoreboard through four innings.
Los Angeles broke the scoreless tie in the fifth on J.B. Shuck's first career home run. The solo shot to right was initially greeted with the silent treatment in the dugout by his teammates before they congratulated the rookie.
The Angels weren't done. Erick Aybar walked and Mike Trout doubled with two out. Hamilton followed with a chopper down the third-base line that went for a single and scored both runners, giving the Angels a 3-0 lead.
The Rangers could only manage an Adrian Beltre single going into the sixth. Texas had two men on in the second with one out, but Weaver worked his way out of the jam with a strikeout and ground out.
NOTES: The Angels look to be in sell mode after trading veteran left-hander reliever Scott Downs to Atlanta for minor league right-handed reliever Cory Rasmus on Monday. Rasmus, 25, will report to Triple-A Salt Lake. Double-A reliever Nick Maronde is taking Downs' place on the 25-man roster. ... The Rangers are interested in obtaining a right-handed hitter, with the most prominent names mentioned being Hunter Pence, Alex Rios and Kendrys Morales. Reports have also surfaced that Texas has held internal discussions about trading closer Joe Nathan. The logic being that Nathan can be replaced by Joakim Soria if the 38-year-old All-Star can bring an impact bat in a trade.

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