Rangers power past Angels
The Texas Rangers clinched their three-game home-opening series even with Yu Darvish being far from perfect.
Lance Berkman, David Murphy and Ian Kinsler homered for Texas in a 7-3 victory over Josh Hamilton and the AL West rival Los Angeles Angels on Sunday night.
Darvish (2-0) came within one out of a perfect game in his first start five days earlier at Houston, but trailed the Angels 2-0 only five batters into his 2013 debut.
After Darvish walked leadoff hitter Mike Trout, hit Erick Aybar on the foot and then walked Albert Pujols, a run scored on Hamilton’s double-play grounder. Mark Trumbo’s RBI single quickly made it 2-0.
Berkman’s first homer with the Rangers was a two-run shot in the bottom of the first off Jered Weaver (0-1), who won 20 games last season. Murphy added a solo shot two batters later to put the Rangers ahead to stay.
Hamilton, booed throughout his return to Texas after signing a $125 million, five-year deal with the Angels last winter, had three hits. He finished 3 for 13 in the series, and is batting only .160 (4 for 25) on the season.
Neither Darvish nor Weaver made it past five innings, but that wasn’t because of the runs they allowed.
Darvish threw 85 pitches over five innings, and was replaced starting the sixth because of a blister on his right ring finger that had also developed in the game against the Astros when he retired 26 consecutive batters before giving up a single.
Weaver did throw to a batter in the sixth, but strained his left elbow diving out of the way of Mitch Moreland’s liner to start the inning.
While Weaver avoided being hit by the ball, he landed awkwardly on his left arm. The pitcher immediately grabbed the arm near his elbow and manager Mike Scioscia and a trainer quickly were on the field. X-rays were negative.
Mark Lowe replaced Weaver on the mound. After a sacrifice bunt by Geovany Soto, Lowe walked No. 9 hitter Leonys Martin before Kinsler’s third homer of the season, a three-run liner just over the right-field wall.
Weaver allowed five runs and seven hits in five innings. He struck out two and walked four.
Darvish, who had 14 strikeouts with no walks against the Astros, threw a strike on his first pitch Sunday night before four consecutive balls to Trout.
The ace from Japan retired only two of the first nine Angels he faced. The second time through the lineup, he had five strikeouts.
Darvish finished with six strikeouts, four walks and a hit batter. He gave up three runs and six hits over his five innings.
Texas went up 4-2 in the fourth when Soto, the catcher playing for the first time this season, had a leadoff double. He scored on Kinsler’s single.
The Angels got that run back in the fifth when Hamilton singled and scored on a double by Trumbo.
NOTES: After opening the season with series at Cincinnati and Texas, both of Hamilton’s former major league teams, the Angels play their home opener Tuesday against Oakland. Los Angeles is the first team since 2007 to open the season with three series in a row against playoff teams from the previous season. … Soto was the last Rangers player on the opening-day roster to get in a game.