Rangers can't deliver as Angels cut into AL West lead

Posted Friday, Jun. 01, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
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The first of three games between the top two teams in the American League West came down to one team making a key play with two outs in the seventh inning while the other didn't.

The Texas Rangers had runners at second and third in their half of the seventh, when Elvis Andrus ripped a line drive to center field that Anaheim outfielder Mike Trout reached up and grabbed at the warning track after having to sprint for it.

Inning over.

The Rangers then faced three golden opportunities to get the final out of the Angels' half of the seventh, but allowed a single, hit a batter and committed an error after being ahead of each hitter 0-2 in the count.

The Angels took advantage and took a 4-2 victory that extended the Rangers' losing streak to three games and reduced their lead over Anaheim in the West to 4 ½ games.

Trout had three RBIs, including the tiebreaking two-run single after Ian Kinsler had booted a grounder that would have ended the inning. Colby Lewis, though, had a hand in the rally by allowing a single to Howie Kendrick and especially by hitting Erick Aybar ahead of the Kinsler gaffe.

“That's the game right there,” manager Ron Washington said.

Lewis (4-4) seemed either oblivious to his contributions to the rally during an otherwise quality performance, or in denial when he asked the media gathered at his locker, “There's not a lot to talk about, is there?”

He said that he was simply trying to get both hitters out but “jerked” two-seam fastballs to Kendrick and Aybar. He was removed with the go-ahead run at second in favor of Alexi Ogando, who got ahead of pinch-hitter Maicer Izturis and finally induced a roller to second base.

Kinsler, though, muffed it, and everyone was safe. Trout followed with a soft single to center that scored Kendrick and Aybar.

Kinsler made no excuses afterward.

“I know you guys have to ask about it because it's a big part of the game,” he said. “I misplayed it and dropped the ball. There's nothing really else to it. I played myself into that hop. A lot of times out of a lot of time I catch that ball.”

The Rangers also missed a few chances at the plate, though they generated their first run when Josh Hamilton doubled with two outs in the first and scored on an Adrian Beltre single.

They went ahead 2-0 against Jerome Williams (6-2) in the fourth when Mike Napoli singled home Michael Young from third. But the rally fizzled with runners at the corners when Mitch Moreland hit into his second double play of the game.

The first one killed a chance with runners at first and second with one out in the second inning. “We still had some opportunities, but he made pitches when he had to,” Washington said.

But Williams was bailed out by Trout in the seventh after Kinsler extended the inning with a two-out double. Nelson Cruz was at third base when Andrus sent a liner to center field that Trout tracked down.

“I was trying to square one up through the middle,” Andrus said. “He got a fantastic jump. That guy can cover a lot of ground.”

Lewis had pitched well through five innings, allowing only a single to Aybar in the fourth. But the Angels opened the sixth with a double by No. 9 hitter John Hester, and the speedy Trout followed with a triple off the right-field wall.

Trout would score the tying run two batters later on a sacrifice fly by Albert Pujols.

How Rangers pitchers fared: Colby Lewis said there wasn't too much to talk about from his performance. He did pitch well, allowing only two unearned runs in 6 2/3 innings, but he also extended the Angels' winning rally by hitting Erick Aybar with an 0-2 fastball with two outs.

How Rangers hitters fared: Two Mitch Moreland double plays limited Rangers rallies with runners in scoring position in the second and fourth. Adrian Beltre had two of the Rangers' eight hits to extend his hitting streak to 10. He has a hit in 20 of his past 21 games.

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