Rangers 7, Angels 3

Texas manager Ron Washington gave Nelson Cruz the green light on

3-0, then watched the slugger put reliever Bobby Cassevah’s sinker

into orbit.

Cruz’s tape-measure drive in the seventh inning helped Matt

Harrison win his third straight start as the Rangers beat the Los

Angeles Angels 7-3 on Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.

”It’s fun to see how far it goes, but the main thing the

situation it came in,” Cruz said. ”I didn’t watch where it

landed, but I watched it go far enough.”

Using a 34-ounce Louisville Slugger model No. R-13 that measures

35 inches, Cruz reached the championship flag poles in left-center.

The ball was estimated to have traveled 484 feet, making it the

longest home run in the majors this season, according to the Angels

based on information from ESPN Home Run Tracker.

But teammate Josh Hamilton was quite skeptical.

”That’s not right. When we come back here, we’re going to bring

a range-finder and we’re going to get an accurate measurement on

that ball,” said Hamilton, the major leagues’ home run leader.

”That was the farthest ball I’ve ever seen hit. When you think

about it, unless the wall is lying – is says 387 to the wall, and

100 feet past that is 487. But the ball went another 100 feet past

that. So I can’t wait to come back here.”

Cassevah took it all in stride.

”Butch came out before that pitch, so we knew he was

swinging,” the right-hander said, referring to pitching coach Mike

Butcher. ”I was trying to throw a strike. But the sinker didn’t

sink, it was right over the middle, and he got all of it. But a

home run’s a home run to me, no matter how far they go. The hitter

wants to see how far it goes. I don’t. I just go on to the next

guy.”

Cruz said Washington also turned him loose on a 3-0 count his

previous time up. He took the pitch out of the strike zone before a

flyout to left field.

”He’s capable with one swing of the bat of doing exactly what

he did in the seventh inning, and he was in a good position,”

Washington said. ”I told the team last night that I wanted us to

get back to being aggressive, so I had to be aggressive, too. I

just gave him the 3-0 hack and he did a good job with it.”

The victory ended a four-game skid by the two-time defending AL

champions, who lead the Angels by 4 1/2 games in the West. The

clubs play 13 more times during the regular season.

”Two out of three is not bad against a good team like Texas

because they’re the champs, so you’ve got to be happy with it,”

Angels outfielder Torii Hunter said. ”We know them, they know us,

and it’s going to be a battle all year long. Right now we’re

getting by. We’re playing a lot better baseball than we did the

first six weeks, but we’re a lot better than what we’ve

shown.”

Harrison (7-3) gave up three runs, four hits and three walks in

6 2-3 innings. The left-hander, who started Game 7 of last year’s

World Series for the Rangers, departed after giving up a two-out

single to Peter Bourjos and a walk to John Hester, who had homered

his previous time up.

”The thing I was really upset about was the walks and the pitch

to Hester,” Harrison said. ”Other than that, I thought I threw

the ball well, but I’m not satisfied. I want to keep getting

better, keep grinding and keep learning from the mistakes I make in

games. I just want to keep on this roll, get deep into games and

give us a chance to win.”

Mike Trout greeted Alexi Ogando with an RBI single and Alberto

Callaspo walked, loading the bases for Albert Pujols, who cracked

his bat on an inning-ending flyout to left field. The Rangers put

it away with RBI singles in the ninth by Mike Napoli and Elvis

Andrus.

Dan Haren (3-6) threw 104 pitches over five innings, allowing

two runs and seven hits. The two-time All-Star, who is winless in

his last five starts against Texas, ended a career-best streak of

25 strikeouts without a walk when Napoli drew a base on balls in

the fourth. The franchise record for most strikeouts without a walk

is 30, by Frank Tanana in May 1976.

”He’s a really good pitcher, so one thing you have to do with

guys like that is lock in on the strike zone,” Texas designated

hitter Michael Young said. ”We tried to be as aggressive in the

strike zone as we could be and not do him any favors outside the

zone. And I think we did a fairly good job of that.”

Hester’s first home run with the Angels was a solo shot to

left-center that trimmed Texas’ lead to 3-2 in the sixth, and was

the first given up by Harrison in his last four starts.

The Angels, who had won 10 of their previous 11, got on the

board in the fifth after Mark Trumbo drew a leadoff walk and came

all the way around on a two-out double to left by Erick Aybar – Los

Angeles’ first hit off Harrison. Aybar was 1 for 14 against him

prior to that at-bat.

NOTES: The Angels’ game on Monday night against Seattle at the

”Big A” will be Mike Scioscia’s 2,000th as a major league manager

during the regular season – all with Los Angeles. The only coach

who has been on Scioscia’s staff the entire time is 1B coach

Alfredo Griffin. … This was the eighth time this season that the

Angels had Trout, Bourjos and Trumbo all starting in the same

outfield.