Game thoughts: Guerrero powers win

July, 1, 2010
7/01/10
12:13
AM CT
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Rangers defeated the Angels, 6-4, behind a sterling peformance by Vladimir Guerrero: 4-for-4 with two homers and five RBIs. You think the Angels wish they had him back? Some thoughts:

* Guerrero sure has reminded the Angels of what they lost by not re-signing him. He hit a grand slam home run and pumped his fist some as he trotted toward first. The long ball gave the Rangers a 4-3 lead. Guerrero added a solo shot in the eighth. It was his third multi-homer game of the season and 42nd of his career.

He also doubled in the fifth, showing heads-up play on the bases. There was no one going to cover second base, and Guerrero quickly turned at first and made it there without a problem. He got another nice ovation when he came up for his first at-bat. But Guerrero has three homers and eight RBIs in two games against his former team here in Anaheim. He has 18 homers and 68 RBIs on the season. The RBIs are tied for the league lead with Miguel Cabrera. More on Guerrero in Ranger Reax.

* All eyes were on Omar Beltre in his first major league start. Things didn't begin well. He gave up a home run to the first big league hitter he faced, Erick Aybar, becoming the first Ranger to do that since Doug Davis on Aug. 9, 1999 against Toronto's Shawn Green. He then allowed two more runs in the second after hitting a batter and giving up some singles. Beltre did settle down to get through the third and fourth. He ended up with four walks and six strikeouts -- he struck out Bobby Abreu, who was 0-for-3 against him -- and allowed five hits. It was an up and down outing, but he left with the Rangers in front. He'll learn from it.

* Ian Kinsler continues to hit the ball well. Manager Ron Washington talked about how he was squaring things up and not trying to do too much before the game and that carried over to Wednesday as well. He hit a hard single to center to score a run in the fifth, giving the Rangers a 5-3 lead at the time. Kinsler seems dialed in right now, which is important to the middle of that lineup. He's also getting the job done defensively. He sprinted to shallow right and made a nice catch to end the fifth.

* The little things can catch up to you. Dustin Nippert gave up a leadoff double to Bobby Wilson in the sixth and then threw a wild pitch to get him to third. That allowed him to score with one out on a ground ball to the right side of the infield.

* Nippert came in for the fifth inning in relief of Beltre. He made things interesting in the sixth after a leadoff double, wild pitch and ground ball scored one run. Howie Kendrick and Abreu had singles and executed a double steal with Torii Hunter at the plate. But Nippert pitched well to Hunter and ended up getting him to hit one back to the mound after breaking his bat. That kept things 5-4 through six. I was surprised when Nippert was left in for the seventh, but he got through a 1-2-3 inning (thanks in large part to Elvis Andrus) and got the club three innings.

* Andrus turned in another spectacular defensive play in the seventh. He dived, fully stretched to his right, on a hard hit ball by Mike Napoli, caught it and threw to first to get him. That's got to be a top play on SportsCenter. And Andrus always seems to make those things look routine.

* Josh Hamilton's hit streak is now at 23 games after his double down the left-field line in the eighth inning. He finished June with 49 hits, a club record for any month. Hamilton had a fielder's choice, a ground out and an intentional walk before getting the double.

* Frank Francisco needed 22 pitches, but he got a 1-2-3 eighth inning with two strikeouts. And he threw 17 strikes. Francisco was aggressive and didn't mess around.

* Neftali Feliz ended a good night of work for the bullpen with a perfect ninth.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Yu Darvish
WINS ERA SO IP
10 3.06 182 144
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 17
RBIA. Beltre 68
RA. Beltre 68
OPSA. Beltre .877
ERAY. Darvish 3.06
SOY. Darvish 182