Angels 4, Rangers 2
Mike Trout doesn’t go fishing for compliments. The way he’s been
playing for the Los Angeles Angels, it’s unavoidable, though.
Trout hit an RBI triple in the sixth inning, a tiebreaking
two-run single in the seventh and saved two runs with his
spectacular speed in the outfield, leading the Los Angeles Angels
to a 4-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Friday night.
”When you’ve got that much speed – and plate discipline – it’s
not surprising to us,” right fielder Torii Hunter said. ”The
thing that’s more impressive to me is the plate discipline and the
clutch hits. And his speed can make up for bad routes in the
outfield. I like him a lot.”
Hunter isn’t the only one.
”He’s a good player – a real good player,” Texas manager Ron
Washington said. ”He’s got speed, a little pop in that bat, and he
makes contact. He’s an exciting-looking little player.”
Jerome Williams (5-3) allowed two runs and seven hits over seven
innings and struck out four against the AL West leaders.
The Angels won for the ninth time in 11 games, reducing the
Rangers’ AL West lead over Los Angeles to 4 1-2 games after they
trailed by as many as nine games on April 30.
A seventh-inning error by Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler
helped the Angels score two unearned runs. Lewis gave up a two-out
single to Howie Kendrick and hit Erick Aybar with an 0-2 pitch
before Alexi Ogando came in and got pinch-hitter Maicer Izturis to
hit a grounder that Kinsler misplayed. Trout then singled to
”I just had a feeling I was going to come through,” Trout
said. ”You always want to be in that situation with bases loaded.
But in that spot, I’ve just got to tell myself not to be too big –
not try to hit a home run and fly out. I just kept things short,
stayed within myself and hit the ball up the middle. The pitch got
in on me a little bit, but I stayed on it long enough. It was
definitely a big hit for me and for the team. I’m having a blast,
and it’s from winning.”
Scott Downs pitched a scoreless eighth and Ernesto Frieri
pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for his third save in
as many chances. The right-hander has not allowed a hit in 13
innings since joining the Angels in a trade with San Diego on May
3, and has fanned 27 of the 50 batters he’s faced.
Colby Lewis (4-4) was charged with four runs – two earned – and
four hits in 6 2-3 innings.
Lewis had allowed just one hit and took a 2-0 lead into the
sixth before the Angels tied it. Ninth-place hitter John Hester led
off with a ground-rule double, Trout followed with his triple off
the right-field wall and Albert Pujols hit a sacrifice fly.
The Rangers, beginning a 10-game California trip, threatened to
regain the lead in the seventh after third baseman Alberto Callaspo
misplayed Nelson Cruz’s leadoff grounder for his second error of
the season and Kinsler hit a ground-rule double with two out. But
Williams escaped the jam with the help of Trout, who raced toward
the warning track in center field and reached over his head to grab
Elvis Andrus’ bid for extra bases after playing him shallow.
”It’s always good to make that big play for your pitcher, and
get a big hit for the offense, so it’s tough to choose which one is
bigger,” Trout said. ”It’s different each day, but every chance I
get I want to be aggressive.”
The Rangers scored their runs on RBI singles by Adrian Beltre
and former Angel Mike Napoli in the first and fourth innings.
Williams retired 10 of his first 18 batters, retiring No.9 hitter
Mike Moreland on inning-ending double-play grounders in the second
and fourth, after Cruz and David Murphy got themselves into scoring
position with stolen bases.
”I thought Williams made some adjustments from the last time we
faced him,” Washington said. ”He kept the ball inside on us and
he was cutting it a lot. We still had some opportunities, but he
made some pitches when he had to and didn’t make very many
mistakes. Twice we had runners in scoring position and we hit into
double plays. So we certainly put ourselves in position to put more
than two runs on the board.”
Lewis retired his first 10 batters before giving up a single to
Callaspo and a walk to Pujols. But the right-hander came back to
strike out Kendrys Morales and Mark Trumbo, whose four-game home
run streak ended one shy of the franchise record set by Bobby Bonds
NOTES: Rangers president Nolan Ryan, who pitched four of his
record seven no-hitters with the Angels, threw out a ceremonial
first pitch. Friday was the 37th anniversary of his fourth
no-hitter for the Halos, a 1-0 win against Baltimore at the ”Big
A.” … Ryan was part of the most one-sided trade in Angels
history on December 10, 1971, when he was acquired from the New
York Mets with three minor leaguers for Jim Fregosi. ”I see him
periodically because he’s scouting, but he managed me in `79 here,
so we’ve kind of gone past that,” Ryan said. ”We’ve both been in
the game so long, and we know that’s just part of it. I’ve never
really talked to him about it. The Mets got him with a need and a
purpose of putting him at third base, thinking they might fill a
hole that they had, and the Angels at that time were looking for
bodies and some people with some upside.” … OF Kole Calhoun beat
Rangers LHP Robbie Ross in the Angels’ annual cow-milking contest,
a staple of baseball that goes all the way back to Ryan’s early
years with the Mets in the late 1960s. ”I beat Willie Stargell
once – just blew him away,” Ryan said with a grin. ”It was
embarrassing how little he had in his pail. I think his stroke was
too long. I don’t think I won anything except bragging rights, and
I’m still bragging about that. But I can tell you this: After the
Willie Stargell deal, I really didn’t participate in it after that
because it made my forearm sore for about a week.”