Kendrys Morales broke out of a slump in a big way.
He homered from both sides of the plate during a nine-run sixth inning, capping the burst with a grand slam that sent the Los Angeles Angels romping past the Texas Rangers 15-8 Monday night.
”I’m very excited since it’s not an easy thing to do,” said Morales, a Cuban native who spoke through an interpreter. ”They were good pitches, perhaps mistakes they made. I felt comfortable, and I was able to connect.”
Morales became the third switch-hitter in major league history to homer as a lefty and righty in the same inning. Carlos Baerga did it for Cleveland in 1993 and Mark Bellhorn of the Chicago Cubs duplicated the feat in 2002.
The Angels won the opener of the four-game series and closed within four games of AL West-leading Texas.
Morales connected for a two-run shot in the sixth as a lefty off Texas starter Roy Oswalt that put the Angels ahead 5-3. Morales then hit a grand slam off Robbie Ross from the right side.
Morales became the 25th player in AL history to hit two home runs in the same inning.
”We need Kendrys and his last 100 at-bats he hasn’t been driving the ball or swinging like he can, so it’s good to see,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Mike Trout homered, drove in four runs and scored three times for the Angels. Maicer Izturis also homered and Albert Pujols doubled twice and singled.
Josh Hamilton hit his 29th homer, doubled and singled for Texas. Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli also homered for the Rangers.
Ervin Santana (5-10) gave up three runs and four hits over five innings. Oswalt (3-2) was chased in the sixth, and allowed eight runs and 11 hits.
The Angels ended a 24-inning scoreless drought when Izturis hit a solo homer in the second. Trout added a two-run shot in the third.
”We struggled over the weekend for sure,” Scioscia said. ”You’re not going to have it clicking every night . but it’s good when it happens.”
It was 3-all when the Angels broke loose in the sixth. Pujols led off with a double, Morales homered and Los Angeles hit five straight singles with one out.
After Trout’s two-run single, Torii Hunter struck out and Pujols was intentionally walked to again load the bases. Morales followed with his 11th home run of the season for a 12-3 lead.
The last big leaguer with six RBI in an inning was Juan Uribe of the San Francisco Giants in 2010 at Wrigley Field against Chicago.
The Rangers were in the midst of an 0-for-29 slump with runners in scoring position before converting on their first two opportunities of the game.
”The offense woke up a little bit tonight,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. ”Up until the sixth inning it was a very competitive game.”
Texas scored twice in the second on the first of two sacrifice flies by Michael Young and David Murphy’s RBI double.
NOTES: The slumping Hamilton got three hits from the No. 5 spot in the lineup. … Ross, who had given only six earned runs in 50 innings this season, gave up four while getting two outs. … Six of Izturis’ last 10 hits have gone for extra bases, including four doubles and two home runs. He had six extra-base hits – all doubles – in his first 55 games. … Angels OF Mark Trumbo was not in the lineup because of back spasms, team officials said. He is day-to-day. … Angels RHP Dan Haren is expected to miss his scheduled start Wednesday against the Rangers because of back stiffness.