ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — JC Ramirez got his first win as a starter on his fourth try after 111 career relief appearances, and Jefry Marte homered and hit a tiebreaking, two-run single to help the Los Angeles Angels beat the Texas Rangers 5-2 on Sunday.
Ramirez (3-2) matched his career high from two starts earlier with nine strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings. The right-hander has been filling in for Garrett Richards, who hasn’t pitched since leaving his first start with a right biceps strain.
Marte’s two-out single in the fifth came after the Rangers gave Mike Trout a no-pitch intentional walk to load the bases and Texas starter Martin Perez (1-4) retired Albert Pujols on a popup. Marte had a solo homer in the ninth.
The 28-year-old Ramirez had been a reliever for Philadelphia, Arizona, Seattle and Cincinnati in a span of four seasons when he joined the Angels on a waiver claim last June. Two of his six career wins in relief came this season.
Ramirez, who gave up four hits and two runs, struck out six of the last eight batters he faced, leaving after hitting Carlos Gomez with a pitch. Shin-Soo Choo had a solo homer during that stretch.
Bud Norris struck out four of the five batters he faced for his fifth save, including Rougned Odor with two on to end the eighth.
Kole Calhoun hit a solo homer in the third, had two hits, scored twice and saved Ramirez a run by throwing out the speedy Gomez trying to score from second on a single with Texas leading 1-0 in the first inning.
Calhoun’s homer, his second, was the first by a left-handed hitter against Perez in Arlington since David Ortiz for Boston on May 10, 2014. Perez gave up eight hits and four runs in 5 2/3 innings.
No. 9 hitter Martin Maldonado reached base all four times for the Angels with a double, a single and two walks.
Gomez singled in the first for his fifth straight hit and reached base three times a day after hitting for the cycle.
Angels: RHP Matt Shoemaker (1-1, 4.73 ERA) faces Seattle for the second time this season in the opener of a three-game road series Tuesday. He allowed a season-high seven runs over 4 1/3 innings in a no-decision April 9 at home.
Rangers: Houston-area native Andrew Cashner (0-2, 2.93) pitches the opener of a four-game series at the Astros on Monday. The right-hander walked six but allowed just two runs in an 8-1 loss to Minnesota in his previous start.