Angels 3, Rangers 2
In a game full of significant plays and misplays, it came down
to the Los Angeles Angels’ most effective reliever against the
Texas Rangers’ most dangerous hitter.
This time, Ernesto Frieri got the better of Josh Hamilton.
C.J. Wilson pitched six scoreless innings against his former
teammates, Alberto Callaspo singled home the go-ahead run in the
seventh and the surging Angels held off Texas 3-2 Saturday night to
pull within 3 1/2 games of the AL West-leading Rangers.
Bobby Cassevah (1-0) got two outs for the victory, Los Angeles’
10th in 11 games. Frieri, the fifth Angels pitcher, worked 1 1-3
innings for his fourth save in four chances after the Rangers
scored an unearned run in the eighth against Scott Downs.
Frieri ended it by striking out Hamilton with the bases loaded
after an 11-pitch walk to Ian Kinsler and a throwing error by Gold
Glove shortstop Erick Aybar on a routine grounder by Elvis Andrus
kept the inning alive.
”That was awesome. I can’t believe that I struck him out,”
Frieri said. ”He’s a good fastball hitter, but I made a really
good pitch to him, a fastball up in the zone. I wasn’t trying to
strike him out – just get out of that tough inning. They have so
many good hitters in that lineup. That was an amazing at-bat by
The Rangers have lost four straight for the first time since a
five-game stretch last June, which was their longest skid of 2011.
Manager Ron Washington held a closed-door meeting after the game to
air out his concerns.
”You’ll see tomorrow if I made a difference,” Washington said.
”So much happened out there that was totally uncharacteristic of
what we are, and it just opened up opportunities for the Angels to
get some runs on the board. Yu Darvish did a heck of a job out
there tonight, and we didn’t support him because we didn’t make the
plays. It was a very ugly performance.”
Aybar, robbed of a home run by center fielder Craig Gentry in
the third, led off the Angels’ two-run seventh with a bunt single
and stole second with one out. Andrus fielded Mike Trout’s grounder
to shortstop with Aybar cutting in front of him and immediately
started motioning to the umpires that the ball grazed Aybar –
instead of making the throw to first.
The speedy Trout was credited with a hit, and Washington came
out for a brief discussion with second base ump Ted Barrett and
third base partner Marvin Hudson before play resumed. Callaspo then
lined a single to right over a drawn-in infield to regain the lead
for the Angels.
Darvish (7-3) walked Albert Pujols, and Kendrys Morales followed
with a sacrifice fly against Koji Uehara. Right fielder Nelson
Cruz’s throw home was on target, and Yorvit Torrealba tagged Trout
as he slid in. But umpire Tim McClelland called him safe and
Torrealba was ejected after throwing a tantrum.
Washington joined the argument, and Torrealba resumed his
position behind the plate – not realizing that he had been tossed.
Once he finally got the message, he threw another tantrum before
heading to the dugout.
”I thought he was definitely out. I thought the throw beat him
and I know I tagged him,” Torrealba said. ”I was trying to block
the plate, but I don’t think he was in the right position to tell
if he was out or safe. Obviously it happened so fast. I’m an
emotional player, and I went off.
”I didn’t really say anything bad, but I got tossed because I
threw my mask down. That’s what he said. I was frustrated because
he missed the call. I went back behind the plate because I knew I
didn’t say anything bad to him. I was like: `No way! No way! You
missed the call!’ I didn’t know I was ejected until I threw the
ball to Elvis and (McClelland) said: `You’ve got to go.’ Then Ron
told me: `Yeah, you have to go.”’
Darvish was charged with three runs – two earned – and five hits
over 6 1-3 innings. He struck out seven, walked three and escaped a
bases-loaded jam in the fourth.
”He’s got great stuff,” Trout said. ”He’s got a bunch of
pitches, so you can’t just sit on one. It was definitely better
this time because we already saw him in Texas. He was battling just
like we were. You just try not to miss your pitch.”
Pujols led off the sixth with a popup that first baseman Mike
Napoli misjudged with the wind blowing out toward right field, and
it fell behind him for a two-base error as Pujols slid under the
tag of second baseman Kinsler.
”I just screwed it up, basically,” Napoli said. ”I kind of
drifted back, rather than running to a spot, and I turned around
Pujols stole third as Morales struck out, then scored the game’s
first run when three-time Gold Glove third baseman Adrian Beltre
fielded Mark Trumbo’s grounder, thought about throwing home and
dropped the ball before recovering too late to get the runner at
first. Trumbo was credited with an RBI.
The Rangers tied it in the seventh after loading the bases with
none out against Jordan Walden. Michael Young was erased at the
plate on a fielder’s choice grounder to third baseman Callaspo, who
nearly threw the ball away and was bailed out by Bobby Wilson’s
diving grab with one foot on the plate. Cassevah relieved Walden
and gave up pinch-hitter David Murphy’s sacrifice fly.
C.J. Wilson threw 104 pitches, allowing five hits and striking
out five – including Beltre his first three times up. The
left-hander, who signed a five-year, $77.5 million contract with
the Angels in December after helping pitch the Rangers to
consecutive AL pennants, has allowed one run in 20 innings over his
last three starts.
After grounding into three double plays for the first time this
season during Friday night’s 4-2 loss, the Rangers matched that
total in the first three innings. Torrealba’s double play ended the
second after a double by Cruz and a walk to Napoli. The Angels
executed another double play in the fourth when Cruz struck out and
Bobby Wilson threw out Young trying to steal second.
Gentry, who has shared center-field duties with Hamilton, timed
his leap perfectly on Aybar’s towering fly to left-center and
reached over the 8-foot fence to grab it.
NOTES: The Rangers’ pitching staff has given up 30 unearned
runs, tying San Francisco for the most in the majors – and 27 of
them have come since May 1. … Beltre had to bail out of the
on-deck circle in the eighth when Hamilton struck out against Downs
and his bat went flying out of his hands.