Rapid Reaction: Angels 4, Rangers 2
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Mistakes by the Texas Rangers and the timely hitting of Mike Trout cost the Rangers in Friday's 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. Starter Colby Lewis hit Erick Aybar on an 0-2 pitch and Ian Kinsler made an error, which allowed Trout to come up in a situation to drive in runs. And he did. Some quick thoughts:
What it means: The Angels take the first game of the series, pulling within 4.5 of the Rangers in the AL West. ... The Rangers have lost three straight and are 8-9 since winning a three-game series against the Angels in Arlington in mid-May.
Mistake-filled seventh with two outs: Lewis got the first two batters he faced in the seventh and, with a man at first, was ahead 0-2 in the count to Aybar. But Lewis hit Aybar, putting two runners on and ending his night. Alexi Ogando came in to relieve him and got the ground ball he needed to get out of the jam. But Kinsler booted the ball at second, loading the bases. That's when Trout delivered a two-out single to score both runs -- and they were both unearned -- to give the Angels a 4-2 lead.
Trout drives in runs, reels in fly ball: Trout was at the center of the big moments Friday. His triple in the sixth scored the Angels' first run of the game, and he scored on Albert Pujols' sacrifice fly to tie the score. One inning later, he came up again with two outs and the bases loaded and singled despite getting a bit jammed and two runs came in to score. He also showed off his wheels in the field, scampering to straightaway center to make an over-the-shoulder catch on a ball hit hard by Andrus.
Lewis can't hold lead: Lewis had a no-hitter through 3 1/3 innings and retired 15 of the first 17 he faced. But he ran into trouble in the sixth, allowing a double to No. 9 hitter John Hester and a triple to Trout. The Angels ended up with two runs in the inning to tie it. ... Lewis went 6 2/3 innings and gave up four runs, though only two were earned. He wasn't able to hold a 2-0 lead and left with two on and two outs in the seventh. Eventually, the Angels got the lead in that inning.
Rangers strike first: Josh Hamilton's two-out double in the first followed by Adrian Beltre's single to left scored the first run of the game, giving Texas the early lead. It extended Beltre's hitting streak to 10 games. He was hitting .368 with three doubles, two homers and eight RBIs in the nine games of that streak prior to Friday.
Moreland struggling: Mitch Moreland was hitless in his last 11 at-bats coming into the game and grounded into a 4-6-3 double play in the second, ending the Rangers' chances of adding to the early lead. He came up again with runners on the corners in the fourth and grounded into an inning-ending double play.
Napoli strikes again: The last time Mike Napoli hit at Angel Stadium was in the final regular season game in 2011, when his two homers -- including a tie-breaking, two-run shot in the ninth -- helped send the Rangers home for the playoffs instead of taking a cross-country trip to New York. ... He added yet another RBI against his former team in the fourth, singling to left to bring home Michael Young.
Flashin' leather: Elvis Andrus, fresh off what he called a two-day vacation, made a nice diving stop behind the second-base bag on a hard grounder by Howie Kendrick and threw to first as Moreland made a nice pick to complete the out.
Tough luck: Ogando, who has struggled recently, induced a ground ball from Maicer Izturis that should have ended the seventh. He didn't make a bad pitch to Trout, who was jammed but able to muscle a hit to center. Ogando wasn't charged with any runs, but there were times last year when he came in and slammed the door. He's not slamming as many doors right now.
Up next: Yu Darvish vs. C.J. Wilson at 9:05 p.m. on Saturday on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and FSSW. That should be fun (and Mother Nature will hopefully be nice this time).
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.