ANAHEIM, Calif. — The fact that the Texas Rangers actually lost a game shouldn’t come as a shock, but the way they saw their 12-game winning streak end was a surprise.
No. 13 looked to be a sure thing entering the bottom of the sixth. Derek Holland had settled down after a shaky start, and the Rangers had given him a five-run lead.
But the LA Angels, without the benefit of the long ball but by virtue of two infield hits, scored six times in the sixth and held the Rangers to only one hit the final four innings in a 9-8 victory at Angel Stadium.
Howie Kendrick drove in four runs, including the game-tying and go-ahead tallies in the sixth. Holland, who was bidding for a third straight shutout, allowed seven runs and got only one out in the sixth.
The Rangers had the tying run at third base with two outs in the ninth, but Jordan Walden of Mansfield struck out Nelson Cruz to end the second-best winning streak in Rangers history.
“A win is a win and a loss is a loss,” designated hitter Michael Young said. “I’m not going to sit here and complain about the way it came out.”
The Angels sent 11 batters to the plate in the sixth, an inning that started with the Rangers leading 8-3. Their rally was aided when Endy Chavez missed the cutoff man on an RBI single by Mike Trumbo and allowed him to get to second base. The next batter, Bobby Wilson, hit a grounder that would have been a double play.
Super prospect Mike Trout followed Wilson by beating out an infield hit to shortstop that brought in Trumbo. Trout scored easily on an Erick Aybar double that made the score 8-6.
Tommy Hunter (1-1) entered and didn’t fare much better. He got the first batter he faced, Torii Hunter, to ground out for the second out, but Bobby Abreu followed with an RBI single and Vernon Wells walked.
Alberto Callaspo then beat out another infield hit, again to shortstop Elvis Andrus, who jumped and threw but was just late. The next hitter was Kendrick, who hit a liner to center field.
“The first one, I thought he was out,” Andrus said. “The second one he was safe. I should have had one play at least. There’s nothing else I could do.”
Said manager Ron Washington: “The ones that hurt us were the two infield hits. Those were the two that were the damage, not so much the other stuff.”
The Rangers’ offense, which had chased Dan Haren with a five-run fifth inning, stalled the rest of the way. Michael Young doubled with two outs in the ninth and was removed for pinch-runner Craig Gentry.
Gentry went to third on a wild pitch before Cruz chased strike three.
Afterward, Young’s right hamstring was in ice, but he said he expects to play in the series finale Thursday against Jered Weaver. An Angels victory would cut the Rangers’ lead in the American League to three games.
“We’re going to take the same approach no matter what happened the night before,” Young said. “That’s one of the biggest strengths of our team.”
Pitching had been the No. 1 strength during the winning streak, but Holland was off from the start. The Rangers gave him a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a two-out RBI double by Adrian Beltre, but the Angels countered with two runs.
Kendrick singled to right field with two outs in an inning that was extended by a Wells blooper that fell just fair in right field.
Torii Hunter homered to start the third for a 3-1 lead, but the Rangers tied it up on a two-run homer by David Murphy. Josh Hamilton broke the tie in the fifth with an RBI single, and the next four hitters also collected hits as the Rangers went up 8-3.
Holland pitched a 1-2-3 fifth and appeared to have left behind the shaky first inning. The Angels, though, came to life, and the Rangers lost for the first time since July 3.
“They fought him, that’s what happened,” Washington said. “You’ve got to give those guys credit. They strung something together, and we just couldn’t stop it.
“You go out there in the sixth inning with an 8-3 lead, you don’t expect to give it up. You’ve got to give them credit. We didn’t lose it. They won it.”
How Rangers pitchers fared: Derek Holland wasn’t sharp from the start, but he held a five-run lead entering the sixth. By the time he and Tommy Hunter were through, the Angels had scored six runs. Yoshinori Tateyama (two scoreless innings) gave the Rangers a chance late.
How Rangers hitters fared: Eight runs should always win a game. The Rangers, though, were held to just a hit and a walk by the Angels’ bullpen after the fifth inning. Adrian Beltre had two hits against Dan Haren and is 23 for 49 against him in his career.