ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Angels’ bullpen depth was no match for the six pitchers Texas manager Ron Washington summoned to the mound after Nick Tepesch went 3 1-3 innings on a limited pitch count in his first start off the disabled list.
The Rangers scored the tying and go-ahead runs in the seventh against Buddy Boshers and Michael Kohn, who were trying to protect a one-run lead for Jason Vargas with a chance to sweep the Rangers. As a result, the Angels lost 4-3 Sunday and Vargas was left with his third no-decision in as many starts against Texas this season.
“We tried to mix and match through the seventh inning and couldn’t quite get through it,” Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. “We didn’t have the depth in our pen that they do, with the call-ups.”
Boshers walked Leonys Martin with one out in the seventh and Ian Kinsler greeted Kohn (1-2) with a ground-rule double into the left field corner. Elvis Andrus followed with a looper into right-center and was robbed of a hit on a diving catch by right fielder Kole Calhoun, but Martin scored the tying run on the sacrifice fly.
“You’ve got to find a way to win games, and sometimes it’s going to be with bloopers,” Andrus said. “It was a tremendous play by Martin, to be able to read that flyball and the fielder at the same time and then tag up.”
Center fielder Mike Trout then attempted a diving catch on another Texas leaguer by Alex Rios in left-center, but missed it as Kinsler scored.
“It’s tough because Vargas pitched a great game, deserved to win and obviously didn’t get it,” Kohn said. “I made a bad pitch to Kinsler. That’s pretty much all I did. Other than that, I thought I threw the ball well, got Andrus to pop-up infield obviously playing in in that situation, Calhoun made an unbelievable catch. Then Rios, got it in on his hands pretty good and he dumps it in to short centerfield.”
Vargas allowed two runs and six hits over six innings and struck out eight. The left-hander is 2-2 with a 4.09 ERA in six outings since coming off the disabled list.
“Jason did a great job,” Scioscia said. “It’s a tough lineup to get through. It was hot (84 degrees at gametime) and he needed a lot of pitches to get through five. He felt strong enough to go out for the sixth, and he looked good in the sixth. He left with a lead, but we just couldn’t hang on.”
Neal Cotts gave up a leadoff double in the eighth to Calhoun, who advanced on Mark Trumbo’s groundout and was stranded when Tanner Scheppers struck out Hank Conger with the infield in and retired Grant Green on a flyball to center.
“Trumbo hits the ball to the right side to get the runner to third, and I’m sitting there and saying: `We need a strikeout here,'” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “We got the strikeout, then he made Green put the ball in play and we got a line drive to Martin. There was the good inning right there, and we certainly needed that.”
Alexi Ogando (6-4) got the victory with 1 1-3 scoreless innings. Joe Nathan got three outs in the ninth for his 39th save in 41 attempts, helping the Rangers avoid what would have been the Angels’ first three-game sweep against them since September 2009.
“Fortunately we’ve got 12 or 13 guys out there in the `pen, so we’ve got plenty of arms to stretch it out,” Nathan said. “We feel confident in all of those guys — not just to bring them out in the fourth and fifth inning, but to come in late in the game in tight situations.”
Tepesch was charged with two runs and four hits in 3 1-3 innings and struck out five, after pitching 3 1-3 innings out of the bullpen at Oakland last Monday in his first relief outing in the big leagues. The 24-year-old right-hander was winless in eight consecutive starts before beating Houston on July 5, then was sidelined with inflammation in his elbow.
Tepesch was lifted after 63 pitches with a runner at first and the score tied 1-all. Trumbo was held at third on Conger’s double to left field, and subsequently erased in a rundown on Green’s fielder’s choice grounder to third baseman Adrian Beltre. But No. 9 hitter Andrew Romine lined the next pitch down the left field line for a two-run double that put the Angels ahead 3-1.
Rios, the third batter Vargas faced, homered to left-center for his 16th this season and fourth against the Halos. Calhoun tied it with his sixth of the season leading off the second.NOTES: Vargas stranded Martin at third base in the third after striking out Andrus and Beltre around an unintentional walk to Rios. … The Angels are in Minnesota on Monday night to make up their rained-out game of April 17. Jered Weaver, whose 4-0 career record against the Twins included a no-hitter on May 2, 2012 at Anaheim, gets the start against Pedro Hernandez. … Andrus stole his 36th and 37th bases, tying his career best from 2011. He is 32 for 35 lifetime against the Angels and 17 for 17 against them since Aug. 16, 2011, when Jeff Mathis threw him out at second base. … Rangers opening day starter Matt Harrison is scheduled to undergo Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery on his right side in Dallas on Monday.