All was right with the Texas Rangers’ world for three innings Friday night.
They had scored three times against former teammate C.J. Wilson, including two runs on hits with runners in scoring position, and Matt Garza had made quick work of the Los Angeles Angels’ lineup the first time through the order.
Up the road nearly 400 miles, the Oakland A’s were losing by two runs in the third inning of their game against the Houston Astros.
The rest of the night, though, didn’t follow suit, especially the fourth inning.
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Mark Trumbo launched a three-run homer in a five-run fourth against Garza, and Wilson and the Angels hung on for a 6-5 victory that dropped the Rangers out of first place in the American League West.
“That five-run inning broke our back,” manager Ron Washington said. “It was one inning. If it could have been a two-run inning or a three-run inning, it would have been a different game.”
Oakland is now a half-game up in the division after rallying to beat Houston. The Angels rallied, too, from a 3-0 hole, to send the Rangers to their fifth loss in their past seven games.
Garza breezed through the first three innings, facing the minimum and allowing only a Josh Hamilton single to start the second. But the first two Angels singled, on a well-placed grounder past first baseman Jeff Baker and soft liner to center, to start the fourth and to put runners at first and third for Mike Trout.
He also singled, this one coming on an 0-2 pitch, to plate the Angels’ first run, and after Hamilton bounced into a fielder’s choice, Kole Calhoun singled to make it 3-2. Trumbo was next, and he launched his 30th homer to erase the Rangers’ lead.
“They put together a couple hits, and I left a slider over the middle and Trumbo did with it what he does with sliders you leave over the middle,” said Garza, who dropped to 3-3 with the Rangers. “It’s really frustrating. As a pitcher, you try to control those innings and try to keep them small.”
The Angels scored an unearned run against Garza in the fifth, as second baseman Ian Kinsler threw wildly on a throw to first to get Trout on a high chopper and Erick Aybar scored from third. But Garza hung around until the seventh, throwing 75 of his 96 pitches for strikes.
“I threw a lot of strikes tonight. It threw a ton of strikes tonight,” he said. “I paid for one pitch. It was too good of a strike.”
Rangers pitchers have allowed more than five runs in consecutive starts after going 31 straight games allowing five or fewer. Garza, acquired July 22 for the stretch run, has allowed at least four runs in six of his nine starts since the five-player trade with the Cubs.
“We trust him,” shortstop Elvis Andrus said.
Alex Rios homered for the Rangers in the second, and A.J. Pierzynski and Rios delivered RBI singles in the third to stake the Rangers to a three-run cushion. Wilson would retire the next seven, and he pitched around a leadoff single and a walk to work a scoreless sixth.
He escaped from the third and sixth by getting Baker, one of the Rangers’ best right-handed hitters against left-handed pitchers, to hit into double plays. Andrus took Wilson deep with two outs in the seventh, his second homer of the season on Wilson’s 116th and final pitch of the game.
“He didn’t give in to anyone,” Washington said of Wilson. “The keys were the two double plays he got on Baker.”
The Rangers made things interesting with two outs in the ninth. Leonys Martin doubled against Ernesto Frieri, and Andrus followed with an RBI single to left field. Kinsler, though, struck out to end it.
“We created some opportunities, and that’s what we need to carry over,” said Andrus, who played for the first time since Aug. 31 after dealing with back tightness. “It was a good game. Garza threw the ball really well. He just had one bad inning.”