Rangers’ rally falls short vs. Pujols, Angels

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — With the teams’ aces pitching in other games, Albert Pujols teed off.

Pujols hit his fourth homer and Trevor Bell pitched into the fifth inning in a bid to earn the Angels’ No. 5 starter role, leading Los Angeles to a 6-5 victory over the Texas Rangers Sunday.

“That was a 2-iron,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

Both managers chose to keep their aces from facing a division rival. Instead, the Rangers’ Yu Darvish gave up four runs and six hits in five innings in an intrasquad game. The Angels’ C.J. Wilson, former Rangers ace, worked five innings and allowed six hits and three runs — two earned — in a minor league game.

Randal Grichuk’s RBI single in the ninth lifted the Angels to a win. Jorge Cantu hit a two-run homer in the eighth to snap a 2-all tie but the Rangers scored three in the top of the ninth.

Bell allowed three hits and two walks in 4 1-3 scoreless innings, his first start and fourth appearance. He struck out three.

“He pitched inside well today,” Scioscia said. “That’s what he’s got to do to stay up here. He pitched with much better command today.”

Bell is one of a handful of pitchers hoping to secure the fifth spot in the Angels’ rotation. But he appears to be well behind right-handers Garrett Richards and Jerome Williams in the race.

“I was pumped,” said Bell, who pitched in 19 games for the Angels in 2011 and posted a 1-1 record with a 3.94 ERA. “I wanted to get out there and show what I could do.”

Texas had gone ahead with three runs in the top of the ninth, two

coming on Greg Miclat’s double off Jason Isringhausen.

Jorge Cantu had given the Angels a 4-2 lead with a two-run homer in the bottom of the

eighth. Texas’ Dusty Brown hit his second spring homer, a two-run

homer off reliever Kevin Jepsen in the top of the eighth to tie it 2-all.

Mark Hamburger worked two innings and allowed two runs, one earned, and gave up one hit.

NOTE: Scioscia said the two main combatants for the fifth starting spot in the rotation would both pitch tomorrow, with Williams pitching in a minor league game and Richards facing Colorado at Tempe.