Rapid Reaction: Angels 6, Rangers 1
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Texas Rangers squandered early opportunities and Derek Holland was shaky in Friday's 6-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels. Some quick thoughts:
What it means: The Angels took the first game of the three-game set, pulling within five games of the Rangers in the American League West standings. ... The Rangers are 16-16 in their own division, and 3-4 against Los Angeles.
The bad with the good: Holland looked nothing like the pitcher who last week blanked the Seattle Mariners. The left-hander had been sharp on the road (4-1, 2.58 ERA) heading into Friday, but the Angels tagged him for six runs on nine hits in 6 2/3 innings. Los Angeles had five extra-base hits; Texas had two.
Unlucky No. 11: Mark Trumbo fouled off six pitches during his at-bat in the sixth inning, so he had plenty of looks at Holland before launching the 11th pitch for his team-leading 27th home run. Holland had Trumbo 0-2 in the count but couldn't put him away.
Too much of the zone: Trumbo's screaming blast hurt, but it was a slow, hanging curveball in the fourth that proved to be the backbreaker for Holland. The pitch seemed to freeze as it reached home plate and Erick Aybar lunged at it, but still managed to hook it into the left field corner to give the Angels a comfortable 4-1 lead. That it came immediately after a mound visit by pitching coach Mike Maddux didn't help matters.
Ol' four-six-three rally killer: Teams don't get too many golden opportunities against Angels ace Jered Weaver but the Rangers had one in the third inning and wasted it. Mike Napoli led off with a bloop single to right field and Craig Gentry followed with a liner that skipped past left fielder Mike Trout for a double, setting up a favorable situation with the top of the order due up. But Ian Kinsler fouled out on the first pitch he saw and, after a walk to Elvis Andrus, Josh Hamilton bounced into an inning-ending double play. Weaver fed off the escape act, and Angel fans roared.
Accurate Andrus: Holland's numbers would have been worse if not for a perfect throw home from Andrus in the first. The Angels got greedy on Howie Kendrick's game-tying double, waving the 230-pound Albert Pujols around from first. Andrus received the throw from Gentry, and fired a strike to the plate to limit the damage.
Rare power: An unlikely source brought the thunder early. Andrus hammered a 3-and-2 offering from Weaver to deep left-center field, putting the Rangers on the board in the first. It was only his second home run of the season and first since April 11 -- a drought that spanned 83 games. It's all the Rangers would muster.
Up next: Yu Darvish vs. Ervin Santana at 3:05 p.m. Saturday on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and Fox.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus joins Galloway & Company to discuss having Scott Boras as his agent, his new contract and having Jurickson Profar in the lineup.
Play Podcast Rangers manager Ron Washington joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett for his weekly visit to discuss Yu Darvish's pitch count and how he spends time in the clubhouse during weather delays.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway & Company for his weekly visit to discuss the latest Rangers news.
Play Podcast Reid Ryan joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss his new position with the Houston Astros and whether he could see his dad, Nolan, joining him there in the future.
Play Podcast ESPN MLB Insider Jayson Stark joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss if the Rangers are the best team in baseball, what makes them so good and if he thinks the team will trade Jurickson Profar.
Play Podcast Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Ron Washington's decision to send Yu Darvish to the mound for the eighth inning Thursday night and how he would handle a situation like that if he were still a GM.
Play Podcast Randy Galloway, Matt Mosley and Glenn "Stretch" Smith discuss the latest Rangers news, including the Yu Darvish-Justin Verlander matchup.
Play Podcast Nelson Cruz joins Galloway & Company to discuss the Rangers' series in Oakland, his ups and downs at the plate and if the PED talks before the season were a distraction.