Sports

Small ball helps Angels overcome Texas Rangers, Hamilton homer

ARLINGTON -- The box score shows only six hits for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Saturday afternoon, and, as the saying goes, each one looks like a line drive.

The Texas Rangers know better, but the three balls that didn't leave the infield in the seventh inning are as much a part of the game as the three infield hits the Rangers had in the first inning a night earlier.

What stung left-hander Matt Harrison the most, though, were the two walks he issued. They stung more than the two-out home run Mark Trumbo launched 420 feet in the fourth inning.

Harrison believes that the free passes were what cost him and the Rangers in a 4-2 loss to the Angels.

Without the first, Trumbo doesn't bat in the fourth. Without the second to start the seventh, the Angels' winning rally might never develop.

But there aren't many teams who do more with less better than the Angels, and that's how they won Saturday.

"Those were the two biggest mistakes, other than the slider I hung to Trumbo," Harrison said. "That's tough to watch. They were playing small ball, and they executed to a tee. You've got to give them credit, too."

Josh Hamilton swatted another homer, his 18th of the season and ninth since Monday. It was a key blow, too, as it tied the game at 2-2 in the sixth inning.

But Harrison walked Trumbo to start the seventh after being ahead in the count 1-2, and Howie Kendrick dropped a surprise bunt for a hit that chased Harrison (4-3) from the game.

"I didn't think he'd bunt with a strike," third baseman Michael Young said. "I didn't think he'd risk a foul ball and give himself a two-strike count. I was in with no strikes, scooted back with one. He couldn't have rolled it out there any better."

Alexi Ogando entered, but his throw to first base was late after fielding a bunt by the speedy Peter Bourjos. With the bases loaded, Ogando was hoping to keep the ball in the infield, but pinch hitter Kendrys Morales delivered a sacrifice fly for a 3-2 lead.

The Angels got another infield hit before Mike Trout delivered another sacrifice fly for a two-run cushion that three relievers made stand up.

"That's the type of game they play," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "That's why they've been so successful. They do the little things, and today was a game that came down to the little things."

Hamilton's homer kept C.J. Wilson from earning the victory against his former team. He walked the first two batters he faced, but struck out Hamilton and induced a double play from Adrian Beltre to prevent any damage.

After Young singled in the second, Wilson would retire 10 straight until he hit Twitter buddy Mike Napoli on the foot with two outs in the fifth. Napoli would score as Brandon Snyder and Craig Gentry followed with singles.

Hamilton's homer, a 367-foot drive with one out in the sixth, was his ninth in six games and made him the second player since 1918 to hit 18 homers in his team's first 34 games (Cy Williams, Phillies, 1923).

Wilson was gone three batters later, and the Rangers would load the bases with two outs before Snyder flied out to left field. That would be their last good scoring threat.

"This team is a home-run hitting team," Wilson said. "You have them hit the ball in air, bad things are going to happen. I had a good plan against Josh, all those guys. Sometimes, it's more about execution than anything else."

The Angels executed when it counted Saturday, and they evened the three-game series.

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