Rangers 8, Angels 3

The Texas Rangers realize they’ll have to be resourceful on

offense to make the postseason without suspended slugger Nelson

Cruz.

When they scored eight runs without an extra-base hit Tuesday

night, manager Ron Washington was thrilled – but not at all

surprised.

”What’s the difference between small-ball and winning

baseball?” he asked. ”Aggression is always going to be our

game.”

Adrian Beltre drove in the tiebreaking run in the eighth, Yu

Darvish pitched seven solid innings, and the Rangers beat the Los

Angeles Angels 8-3 for their eighth win in nine games.

Elvis Andrus had three hits and scored the go-ahead run as the

Rangers won their third straight and moved within one game of AL

West-leading Oakland, which lost at Cincinnati.

The Rangers broke open a tight game with Beltre’s single against

Kevin Jepsen (1-3), and they poured it on with a symphony of

small-ball brilliance with a four-run ninth. Texas pounded out 12

singles, stole six bases, capitalized on errors and wild pitches,

and got a crafty effort from Darvish (11-5) without his best

stuff.

To Washington, that’s Rangers baseball in its purest form.

”It was quite exciting to be able to go out there and play the

game we love to play,” Washington said. ”It was a night when it

all came together, but it’s always been an emphasis. I call that

winning baseball.”

Texas batted around in the ninth against Los Angeles’ hapless

bullpen – with help from two more stolen bases. Craig Gentry scored

all the way from second base when Calhoun botched a grounder at

first, and Andrus singled home Leonys Martin – who had just stolen

second even as the Angels pitched out – before Beltre added another

RBI single.

”We have to create opportunities for ourselves,” Andrus said.

”We have to put balance in our offense. We lost a power guy (in

Cruz), but we know we can create opportunities and score runs. You

don’t always win games hitting homers.”

Darvish allowed eight hits in his least effective start since

returning from the disabled list late last month, but the majors’

strikeouts leader still escaped a seventh-inning jam and got the

win.

Darvish added six more strikeouts to his total, but also walked

three after allowing multiple homers in the same inning for the

first time in his major league career. The Japanese right-hander

had allowed just one earned run in his previous three starts

combined.

Tanner Scheppers pitched two scoreless innings for his first

save of the season.

Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout led off the first inning with

back-to-back homers for the Angels, who have lost nine of 12. Los

Angeles held a closed-doors team meeting after the Rangers schooled

them in practically every fine aspect of the game – particularly

with those season-worst six stolen bases allowed, which manager

Mike Scioscia blamed on the Angels’ pitchers, not catcher Chris

Iannetta.

”This is about the inability of some of our pitchers to make

some adjustments they need to make,” Scioscia said. ”And the

reality of it is, if this is going to become an instructional

league, we have to make some changes, because guys up here should

be able to do a better job.”

Grant Green had his first two major league hits in his debut for

the Angels, who have lost nine of 11 meetings with the division

rival Rangers this season. Los Angeles has struggled against

aggressive baserunning teams all season, but the Rangers turned it

up another notch.

”We’ve got to do a better job of shutting down the running game

as a team,” Iannetta said. ”That’s our focus. They picked their

spots really well.”

Calhoun and Trout delivered two-out singles against Darvish in

the seventh, but Josh Hamilton flied to center on Darvish’s 113th

pitch.

Hamilton went 0 for 4 against his former Texas teammates,

dropping his average below .220 and making him 2 for 21 on the

Angels’ homestand. The $125 million outfielder is batting .167 (15

for 90) with runners in scoring position in his first season with

Los Angeles.

Garrett Richards allowed six hits and three runs in a decent

six-inning start for the Angels, striking out five.

After the Rangers stole two bases and took a 2-0 lead in the

first inning on Richards’ second wild pitch of the inning, Calhoun

and Trout quickly evened it with just the second back-to-back

leadoff homers in Angels franchise history. Calhoun’s homer was the

rookie’s third in a week, while Trout reached base in his 37th

consecutive game with his 19th homer.

Green got his first major league hit in his first plate

appearance for the Angels, who acquired the Anaheim native from

Oakland last week in a trade for Alberto Callaspo.

With Howie Kendrick sidelined at least until the weekend with a

sprained left knee, Green came up from the minors and immediately

started at second base.

NOTES: Engel Beltre moved over to right field after David Murphy

misplayed two balls at the position Monday night in the Rangers’

first game without Cruz. … The Angels hit back-to-back homers for

just the second time all year. Albert Pujols and Hamilton did it

July 10. … Trout is the first player to hit three career homers

off Darvish. … Green went 0 for 15 in his first major league

experience with Oakland last month.