Rapid Reaction: Angels 6, Rangers 2
ARLINGTON, Texas -- A disappointing homestand continued Tuesday as the Rangers fell, 6-2, to the Angels. Texas is now 3-5 in this 10-game stretch at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and has lost eight of its last 12 games. Derek Holland struggled, giving up three home runs, and the offense couldn't muster much off Jered Weaver and the Angels' bullpen. Some brief thoughts on the game:
What it means: The Angels are three games back of the Rangers, the closest they've been since June 14 when they were also three back. If the Oakland A's win, they'll be 2 1/2 games back, which would be the closest the division has been since June 11 (also 2 1/2 games). ... Texas must win the final two games of the series to earn a split.
Holland can't finish: Holland started the night strong, retiring the first eight batters he faced and not allowing a hit until the fourth inning. But some pitches got up and some balls got out. Holland ended up allowing six runs for the second time in his last three starts -- both to the Angels. Holland has now given up 12 runs on 14 hits with five homers, five walks and 12 strikeouts in two losses to the Angels this season.
Game 3 rewind?: Albert Pujols hit two homers Tuesday, his first homers at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington since belting three long balls in Game 3 of the 2011 World Series. Both of Pujols' home runs came off Holland and were hit over the left field wall.
Lots of long balls: Holland allowed three home runs Tuesday and has given up seven home runs in his last three starts. Besides Pujols, Mike Trout continued his ridiculous season (he's got to be the MVP if he keeps this up, doesn't he?) with a 412-foot home run in the sixth.
Costly walk: Holland was ahead 1-2 on Chris Iannetta to lead off the sixth and ended up walking him. By issuing a free pass to the No. 9 hitter, Trout got to bat with a runner on base and took advantage with the homer.
Key double: With the Angels up 4-0 with two outs in the seventh, Tanner Scheppers came in to pitch to Torii Hunter. On a 1-1 pitch, Hunter hit a double to center that scored Maicer Izturis and Trout to give the Angels a 6-0 lead. That turned out to be important as the Rangers tried to start a comeback in the seventh.
No shutout: David Murphy's double to center -- just past the reach of a speedy Trout -- scored Josh Hamilton and Michael Young and allowed the Rangers to avoid a shutout. It was also the final batter that Jered Weaver faced. Kevin Jepsen came on in relief and retired Mike Napoli and Mitch Moreland to end the inning.
Still searching for runs: After scoring eight runs Monday -- though many of those came after the Angels had blown the game open -- the Rangers offense was once again fairly quiet. They scored two runs on five hits and weren't able to do much off Weaver and the Angels bullpen. Texas has scored five runs or fewer in 12 of the 16 games since the All-Star break. The Rangers are averaging four runs per game in the second half.
Top 4 quiet: The top four hitters in the Rangers order -- Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz -- were 0-for-16.
Up next: RHP Yu Darvish (11-7, 4.05 ERA) goes up against RHP Garrett Richards (3-2, 3.91 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and FSSW.
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.