ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Matt Harrison was doing just enough to fend off Los Angeles after the Angels jumped on him early Sunday night.
The All-Star wasn't at his best, but he was doing enough to give the Texas Rangers a chance against an opposing pitcher who was making his first start off the disabled list.
But the Rangers' sputtering offense couldn't get over the Dan Haren hump, and Harrison couldn't hold on long enough.
Then, the bullpen couldn't hold onto much of anything.
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Albert Pujols homered in a three-run seventh, and Haren allowed only three hits as the Angels beat the Rangers 7-4 to close out a three-game series.
Harrison (12-5) allowed four of the runs and lost for only the second time since May 12, when the Angels beat him 4-2. Harrison is 17-6 lifetime against AL West foes, but only 3-4 against the Angels.
"They were swinging the bats tonight," said Harrison, who threw 95 pitches. "I was just trying to minimize the damage and keep it close. There were some frustrating parts to it. It was one of those games. I had to battle the whole night."
The Rangers loaded the bases with one out in the ninth and scored on a sacrifice fly by Elvis Andrus. Josh Hamilton, though, struck out as the tying run to end the game. It was his third strikeout of the night.
"I'll take him in that situation every night whether he's struggling or not swinging well," manager Ron Washington said.
The loss trimmed a game from the Rangers' lead in the American League West. It sits at five after the Angels took two of the three weekend games.
Oakland is only 5 1/2 games back after sweeping four from New York.
The Rangers open a 10-game homestand tonight against Boston to start a three-game series. The final four games next week are against the Angels.
"Hopefully, we can have the usual homestand and win some series," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "We need to get our feet back under us and get going again."
The Angels' leadoff hitter reached 6 of 7 times against Harrison, including a triple by the first batter he faced, Mike Trout, and a homer by the last batter, Bobby Wilson.
Harrison never had it easy.
"That was the key right there," he said. "There were a lot of pressure at-bats with guys on base every inning."
Trout scored in the first on a double by Pujols, and the Angels scored two more in the second despite not hitting a ball hard. The rally started with a bloop single and a chopper over third baseman Adrian Beltre's head that went for a double.
The Rangers responded two innings later with a two-run homer by Nelson Cruz, his first since June 23, to make it 3-2. But the Rangers would manage only an Andrus single in Haren's final two innings.
"He kept us off-balance there for a while," Washington said.
Harrison would settle down over the next three innings, allowing only a single to Mark Trumbo in the third and a walk to Trout to start the fifth. Trout would be left at third in large part because Beltre knocked down a Pujols liner that Andrus turned into the second out.
Howie Kendrick started the sixth with a double, but Harrison left him there by retiring the next three Angels. He would face only one more batter, Wilson, who hit his first homer of the season on a 2-0 pitch to start the seventh.
It was Wilson's first homer since Aug. 27, when he took C.J. Wilson deep in an 8-4 victory at Rangers Ballpark.
Alexi Ogando entered and offered no relief. He retired Trout for the first out, but the next four Angels collected hits. Pujols followed Torii Hunter's one-out single with a drive to center field for a 6-2 lead.
Ogando had worked a scoreless inning Saturday but has struggled in his three other outings since leaving the disabled list Tuesday. He allowed two runs Wednesday as Oakland tied the game in the seventh and won it in the ninth.
"We just couldn't hold it down out of the bullpen," Washington said. "The only way [Ogando] can get better is to face batters. He left some balls up over the plate, and they had a good approach."
Mike Adams didn't fare much better in the eighth after the Rangers had scored on a two-out single by Young. The first three Angels had hits against Adams to cancel out the run.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760