ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — For the second time in three days, the Los Angeles Angels went extra innings and got a game-ending home run.
Howie Kendrick hit his second homer of the night in the 11th inning Tuesday and finished with four RBIs, leading the Angels to a 5-4 victory over the Texas Rangers.
On Sunday against Detroit, it was Mark Trumbo who provided the winning drive in the 13th.
“It’s a great feeling to know that you can leave the other team on the field,” Kendrick said. “But to get the victory is the most important thing. Every game against these guys is really tough because neither team lays down, and it seems like by the time the ninth inning rolls around, it’s always a tie score.”
In the series opener Monday, A.J. Pierzynski hit a go-ahead homer in the ninth against Angels closer Ernesto Frieri.
Kendrick, who hit a two-run shot in the sixth off Alexi Ogando and an RBI single in the first, drove a four-seam fastball from rookie Joe Ortiz (2-1) to left-center on a 1-1 count with one out for his third homer of the season.
“I was just trying to get a pitch to drive,” Kendrick said. “He was trying to go in there and just left it out over the plate a little bit. He threw me a really good changeup the pitch before, and he was working pretty quick. So I was trying to take my time before I got back in the box.”
Dane De La Rosa (1-0) pitched two perfect innings for his first major league win.
The Rangers tied it 4-all in the eighth with an unearned run against Scott Downs, following a couple of costly errors by the Angels — one physical and one mental.
Andrew Romaine, who replaced Brendan Harris at shortstop to start the inning, allowed Nelson Cruz’s grounder to skip between his legs after Adrian Beltre’s leadoff single. That put runners at the corners for Pierzynski, who hit a routine grounder to first base.
Trumbo saw Beltre break for the plate and immediately threw to catcher Chris Iannetta without looking the runner back to third, and Beltre alertly stayed put.
With the bases loaded, David Murphy grounded into a double play as Beltre scored the tying run. Downs minimized the damage by striking out Mitch Moreland after an intentional walk to Craig Gentry.
The Rangers had a runner at third with two outs in the ninth against Frieri, but left fielder Mike Trout robbed Beltre of an extra-base hit with a full-out diving catch on the warning track.
“That was phenomenal. That saved the game right there,” Kendrick said. “I mean, with guys like him and Peter Bourjos out there covering that much ground, two of the fastest guys in baseball, not much really falls out there. And then to have him come up with a clutch play like that was huge for our team.”
Beltre couldn’t believe that Trout was able to catch up with the ball.
“When I hit it and I saw where he was playing, I thought he had no chance to get there because it was hooking away from him. But I was wrong,” Beltre said. “It’s not fair to have three center fielders playing outfield here (Trout, Bourjos and Josh Hamilton). I tried right-center field the first at-bat and Bourjos got over there. I don’t know how. Then in the ninth inning, I hit what I thought was a double for sure and then that guy got there. It’s not fair. I mean, where am I supposed to hit it?”
Someone suggested over the fence, to which Beltre replied: “That sounds like a good idea. I’ll try that tomorrow.”
The Angels had a golden opportunity to win it in the 10th with the bases loaded and one out, but Beltre turned Albert Pujols’ grounder to third into a force at the plate and Hamilton grounded out to second.
Jason Vargas, winless in four starts for the Angels, allowed three runs and seven hits over seven innings. The left-hander, working on six days’ rest, pitched with runners on base in each of the first six innings and gave up a three-run homer by Cruz in the sixth after getting staked to a 4-0 lead.
Cruz drove Vargas’ 3-2 pitch to left-center for his 23rd career homer against the Angels. It was only the second by the Rangers against a left-handed pitcher this season.
“He’s a really good hitter and he’s given me some problems in the past,” Vargas said. “I was trying to throw a slider there and bury it. But I hung it up there for him and he took advantage of it.”
Ogando allowed four runs — two earned — and six hits in seven-plus innings.
The Angels took the lead in the first with two-out RBI singles by Trumbo and Kendrick. It could have been worse for Ogando had it not been for a sensational catch by left fielder Jeff Baker, who raced full speed toward the corner on Hamilton’s slicing drive and caught the ball as he slid across the foul line. But he bruised his left knee crashing into the short wall fronting the grandstand, and was replaced by Murphy.
Kendrick made it 4-0 in the fourth with his first home run since a solo shot against Cincinnati’s Mat Latos in the second game of the season.
“Howie came through big for us tonight. That’s what you expect out of these guys in the lineup,” Vargas said. “When you’ve got one through nine like this, you come to expect those things. And we look for more of it.”
NOTES: Baker, who has played four positions this season, made his second start in left. … The Rangers are the only team that hasn’t lost consecutive games.