Rangers 8, Angels 3

The Texas Rangers realize they’ll have to be resourceful on
offense to make the postseason without suspended slugger Nelson
Cruz.

When they scored eight runs without an extra-base hit Tuesday
night, manager Ron Washington was thrilled – but not at all
surprised.

”What’s the difference between small-ball and winning
baseball?” he asked. ”Aggression is always going to be our
game.”

Adrian Beltre drove in the tiebreaking run in the eighth, Yu
Darvish pitched seven solid innings, and the Rangers beat the Los
Angeles Angels 8-3 for their eighth win in nine games.

Elvis Andrus had three hits and scored the go-ahead run as the
Rangers won their third straight and moved within one game of AL
West-leading Oakland, which lost at Cincinnati.

The Rangers broke open a tight game with Beltre’s single against
Kevin Jepsen (1-3), and they poured it on with a symphony of
small-ball brilliance with a four-run ninth. Texas pounded out 12
singles, stole six bases, capitalized on errors and wild pitches,
and got a crafty effort from Darvish (11-5) without his best
stuff.

To Washington, that’s Rangers baseball in its purest form.

”It was quite exciting to be able to go out there and play the
game we love to play,” Washington said. ”It was a night when it
all came together, but it’s always been an emphasis. I call that
winning baseball.”

Texas batted around in the ninth against Los Angeles’ hapless
bullpen – with help from two more stolen bases. Craig Gentry scored
all the way from second base when Calhoun botched a grounder at
first, and Andrus singled home Leonys Martin – who had just stolen
second even as the Angels pitched out – before Beltre added another
RBI single.

”We have to create opportunities for ourselves,” Andrus said.
”We have to put balance in our offense. We lost a power guy (in
Cruz), but we know we can create opportunities and score runs. You
don’t always win games hitting homers.”

Darvish allowed eight hits in his least effective start since
returning from the disabled list late last month, but the majors’
strikeouts leader still escaped a seventh-inning jam and got the
win.

Darvish added six more strikeouts to his total, but also walked
three after allowing multiple homers in the same inning for the
first time in his major league career. The Japanese right-hander
had allowed just one earned run in his previous three starts
combined.

Tanner Scheppers pitched two scoreless innings for his first
save of the season.

Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout led off the first inning with
back-to-back homers for the Angels, who have lost nine of 12. Los
Angeles held a closed-doors team meeting after the Rangers schooled
them in practically every fine aspect of the game – particularly
with those season-worst six stolen bases allowed, which manager
Mike Scioscia blamed on the Angels’ pitchers, not catcher Chris
Iannetta.

”This is about the inability of some of our pitchers to make
some adjustments they need to make,” Scioscia said. ”And the
reality of it is, if this is going to become an instructional
league, we have to make some changes, because guys up here should
be able to do a better job.”

Grant Green had his first two major league hits in his debut for
the Angels, who have lost nine of 11 meetings with the division
rival Rangers this season. Los Angeles has struggled against
aggressive baserunning teams all season, but the Rangers turned it
up another notch.

”We’ve got to do a better job of shutting down the running game
as a team,” Iannetta said. ”That’s our focus. They picked their
spots really well.”

Calhoun and Trout delivered two-out singles against Darvish in
the seventh, but Josh Hamilton flied to center on Darvish’s 113th
pitch.

Hamilton went 0 for 4 against his former Texas teammates,
dropping his average below .220 and making him 2 for 21 on the
Angels’ homestand. The $125 million outfielder is batting .167 (15
for 90) with runners in scoring position in his first season with
Los Angeles.

Garrett Richards allowed six hits and three runs in a decent
six-inning start for the Angels, striking out five.

After the Rangers stole two bases and took a 2-0 lead in the
first inning on Richards’ second wild pitch of the inning, Calhoun
and Trout quickly evened it with just the second back-to-back
leadoff homers in Angels franchise history. Calhoun’s homer was the
rookie’s third in a week, while Trout reached base in his 37th
consecutive game with his 19th homer.

Green got his first major league hit in his first plate
appearance for the Angels, who acquired the Anaheim native from
Oakland last week in a trade for Alberto Callaspo.

With Howie Kendrick sidelined at least until the weekend with a
sprained left knee, Green came up from the minors and immediately
started at second base.

NOTES: Engel Beltre moved over to right field after David Murphy
misplayed two balls at the position Monday night in the Rangers’
first game without Cruz. … The Angels hit back-to-back homers for
just the second time all year. Albert Pujols and Hamilton did it
July 10. … Trout is the first player to hit three career homers
off Darvish. … Green went 0 for 15 in his first major league
experience with Oakland last month.