ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Howie Kendrick hit an RBI double in the 10th inning and C.J. Cron homered, leading the Los Angeles Angels to a 3-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Saturday night.
Josh Hamilton led off the 10th with an infield single against Neal Cotts (2-4), and Kendrick greeted Jason Frasor with a drive to the fence in left-center on a 3-2 pitch.
Mike Morin (1-1) pitched one inning for his first major league victory, striking out three and hitting a batter.
Jered Weaver allowed a run and four hits through eight innings, struck out five and walked two after back-to-back losses to Oakland and Cleveland. The three-time All-Star left with a 2-1 lead after Cron’s leadoff homer in the eighth, but Kevin Jepsen promptly surrendered a home run to center field by Shin-Soo Choo on his second pitch in the ninth.
Jepsen, who has only three saves in six full big-league seasons, was given the chance to close by manager Mike Scioscia just two days after Ernesto Frieri gave up a walkoff grand slam to Cleveland’s Nick Swisher in the 10th inning of a 5-3 loss. Cam Bedrosian, who took the loss in that game, was optioned to Double-A Arkansas before Saturday’s contest after giving up nine runs, eight hits and seven walks in 5 2-3 innings over his first six big-league appearances.
Nick Martinez allowed two runs and three hits in seven-plus innings after retiring his first 15 batters. The 23-year-old right-hander gave a needed boost to a beleaguered pitching staff that had surrendered 10 or more hits in six straight games — the team’s longest such streak since a nine-game stretch in August 2008.
Martinez recorded 10 of his first 15 outs on fly balls — including two by Kendrick that were caught on the warning track — and another deep drive by Cron. Hank Conger broke up Martinez’s perfect string with a leadoff double into the left-field corner on a 2-1 count and scored on a groundout by Efren Navarro that tied it 1-all.
Cron, whose playing time in the designated hitter role is expected to increase following the sudden departure of 41-year-old Raul Ibanez, hit a towering drive toward the lower seats in the right-field corner on an 0-1 count. The ball grazed the top of Choo’s glove as he made a leaping attempt in front of the fans.
The Angels requested waivers on Ibanez for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release. The highlight of the 19-year veteran outfielder’s brief stay with them was on April 12, when he hit a tying three-run homer with two out in the bottom of the ninth inning against the New York Mets’ Jose Valverde for his 2,000th career hit.
Weaver pitched with runners on base in four of the first five innings and didn’t get his first strikeout until fanning Brad Snyder to open the fifth. Designated hitter Alex Rios, who came in 4 for 25 against the right-hander, led off the second with a double and was stranded at third when Robinson Chrinos popped out and Michael Choice grounded out.
Choo led off the fourth with a grounder toward the hole that went under second baseman Kendrick’s glove for an error, but he kept going and was thrown out by right fielder Kole Calhoun. Adrian Beltre followed with a single and was erased on a double-play grounder by Rios, who got into an argument with umpire Vic Carapazza about a previous pitch that was called a strike and was ejected. Donnie Murphy replaced him as the designated hitter.
Carapazza also ejected Rangers right fielder Michael Choice in the 10th for arguing balls and strikes after taking back-to-back pitches that appeared to be out of the zone. That ran Texas’s season total to six ejections — including one by Carapazza against pitching coach Mike Maddux on May 10 against Seattle, when Carapazza was working first base and confirmed a checked swing on appeal.
NOTES: Weaver ended a career-worst streak in which he had allowed a home run in seven consecutive starts. … Angels 1B Albert Pujols missed the game due to pain in his lower back. He felt it while trying to scoring a run in Friday night’s 7-3 win. … Texas 1B-DH Mitch Moreland is scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery on his left ankle Monday in Charlotte, North Carolina. … Angels LHP Tyler Skaggs, who hasn’t pitched since June 5 because of a right hamstring, threw a four-inning simulated game on Saturday. He’s already missed three starts, but is hoping to return to the rotation next weekend in Kansas City.