ANAHEIM, Calif. — The fourth inning Tuesday night will go down as the wildest and perhaps worst of the season for the Texas Rangers, who entered it with a two-run lead and left it down by six.
But the Anaheim Angels’ march around the bases took shape an inning earlier, when Ryan Dempster had to win a foot race to first base with MVP candidate Mike Trout.
Trout was just out, but Dempster was never the same.
Eight of the next 10 Angels reached against Dempster, and four of them scored in the bizarre fourth to send the Angels to an 11-3 victory that kept the Rangers from gaining a game in the American League West standings.
Josh Hamilton left the game before the fourth because of vision problems related to a sinus issue, and Tanner Scheppers had to leave later in the inning after injuring his right knee as two runs scored on a wild pitch.
“There were definitely some strange things that inning,” third baseman Michael Young said. “But an eight-spot, that’s a huge inning. That was the difference.”
The victory moved the third-place Angels within 6 ½ games in the AL West and kept the Rangers three games in front of Oakland, which was routed at Detroit. Jered Weaver (18-4) won the 100th game of his career and improved to 9-0 at Angel Stadium in his career against the Rangers despite trailing 3-1 after Mike Napoli and Ian Kinsler hit home runs in the third.
Dempster, who allowed a run in the first, looked like he had settled in some in the second and after getting two quick outs in the third. To get the second out, though, he was required to sprint to cover first base to get the speedy Trout.
Dempster took an extended amount of time before his next pitch, and the next three Angels reached on a single and two walks before Howie Kendrick grounded out.
But the Angels started their fourth with a single and walk, and both runners scored on a single by Chris Iannetta. Dempster then walked Trout and was done. Dempster and manager Ron Washington said the Angels’ success after the Trout play in the third inning was just a coincidence.
“I feel like I could have kept pitching, but we’re trying to win a ballgame,” Dempster said. “I could have done a better job of finishing guys when I got ahead of them.”
In came Scheppers, who hit Erick Aybar with his first pitch and followed with a wild one to the screen that allowed Iannetta to score. He bumped into Scheppers as he crossed the plate, and Scheppers landed on his knee as the play continued. Catcher Mike Napoli threw the ball home, but Scheppers was unable to stand and Trout scored.
Scheppers came out of the game, helped off the field with a bruised knee, and Mark Lowe coughed up three more runs as the Angels took command at 9-3.
“It just got out of control,” Washington said. “Of course, it’s not all on Dempster. Everyone after that didn’t do a very good job.”
Scheppers will be evaluated today, and Washington wasn’t sure if Hamilton will be available as the Rangers face former teammate C.J. Wilson.
“He told me he was having vision trouble, a sinus infection,” Washington said.
The Rangers hadn’t scored three times against Weaver at Angel Stadium since 2010, but Napoli started the third with a homer and Kinsler followed to batters later with a two-run shot after Mitch Moreland had singled.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST