Rangers unload on Angels in 14-3 win
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Tyler Skaggs knew he wasn't going to be around for long Sunday after throwing 36 pitches in the first inning and giving up three runs. In fact, it turned out to be the shortest of his 19 major league starts.
The Los Angeles Angels' left-hander lasted 2 2-3 innings, surrendering six runs, eight hits and three walks in a 14-3 loss to the Texas Rangers. Two of the runs came on RBI doubles by Prince Fielder, who ended a drought of 39 at-bats without an extra-base hit.
"They were hitting the pitches I was throwing," Skaggs said. "They made their adjustments and had a good game plan. I fell behind in counts -- and it's easy to hit when it's 2-0, 2-1. It's not like I was walking guys. ... I'll kind of erase this and put it behind me."
Manager Mike Scioscia is confident Skaggs will bounce back in his next start at Toronto.
"He'll be better next time. He'll reload," Scioscia said. "I think the progression of a young pitcher, sometimes when you're struggling, it's a good lesson. I don't think there's anything to say about it except: `We're going to turn the page on this one.'"
The Rangers built a 5-2 lead after two innings with Fielder's identical doubles -- line drives over the head of first baseman C.J. Cron just inside the foul line.
"That shift they used on him wasn't going to hold none of that stuff he hit today," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Cron didn't know where those balls were until they were past him."
The two RBIs matched Fielder's combined total in 37 at-bats over his previous 10 games.
"I was just trying to go up there with an approach and not really worry about the result. And good results happened today," the five-time All-Star first baseman said. "He's a tough lefty, so I was just trying to see a ball up in the zone that I could put the barrel on and hit hard. And I was able to do that.
"I was just happy to drive in a couple of runs, because that's a big part of my game. I haven't been pressing, but anytime you're not doing what you know you can do, it's definitely frustrating."
Yu Darvish (2-1) shrugged off first-inning homers by Erick Aybar and Albert Pujols to get his first victory since his season debut on April 6 at Tampa Bay. The right-hander allowed three runs, seven hits and no walks in 6 1-3 innings and struck out nine.
Darvish is 7-1 with a 3.82 ERA in 11 career starts against the Angels and has won his last six decisions against them.
"He owns us, pretty much," said Pujols, whose 502nd career homer put him within Eddie Murray for 25th place all-time. "He was being pretty aggressive in the strike zone and he mixed his pitches pretty well. That's how he's been pitching the last three years I've been here. We have to figure out next time how to beat him."
Pujols shrugged off an 0-2 pitch by Darvish that glanced off the front of his helmet in the fifth inning as he closed his eyes and turned his head to the right. He remained in the game after a trainer checked on him at first base.
The baseball bounces off the helmet of Angels first baseman Albert Pujols on Sunday.
"I was just lucky I got out of the way at the right time. I'm just glad nothing crazy happened," Pujols said. "If he was going to hit me intentionally with the score 9-2, then he's an idiot. But I don't think that happened. The ball just slipped out of his hand, and that's it. Believe me, if I would have known that was on purpose, I would have charged the mound. But I don't think anything like that happened."
Darvish's teammates scored three more runs than they totaled in his five previous starts combined. Batterymate J.P. Arencibia, who had a sacrifice fly in the first, made it 6-2 in the third with his homer to left-center. Michael Choice, who had four RBIs, increased the margin to 9-2 in the fourth with his homer to left-center against Kevin Jepsen.
"When you have your ace out there, you want to support him and get him some runs so he can have a breather," said third baseman Adrian Beltre, who had an RBI single among his three hits. "Today we did that, and hopefully we can do it more often because he always gives us a good chance to win ballgames."
Alex Rios capped a five-run ninth with a two-out bases-loaded triple against Nick Maronde. All five runs were unearned after right fielder Collin Cowgill dropped Josh Wilson's flyball for a two-base error.
NOTES: Angels reliever Michael Kohn grazed Shin-Soo Choo with a pitch leading off the fifth. ... Angels RF Josh Hamilton, who hasn't played since April 8 because of a torn ligament in his left thumb, will start taking batting practice at the end of the week at the team's Arizona training facility. ... Howie Kendrick is hitless in 19 career at-bats against Darvish.