Rapid Reaction: Angels 5, Rangers 4
August, 15, 2014
By Randy Jennings | Special to ESPNDallas.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Putting runs on the scoreboard against Los Angeles Angels right-handed starter Garrett Richards once again proved difficult for the Texas Rangers.
But with Richards out, the Rangers' offense -- otherwise anemic for this homestand -- showed some fight by closing a four-run deficit to one score with a three-run outburst in the eighth.
It was not enough, however, to avoid a 5-4 loss to the Angels before 31,465 spectators on Friday night at Globe Life Park.
The Rangers suffered their third defeat in a row and fell to 1-4 on the homestand, during which Texas has scored only 11 runs.
Richards beat the Rangers for the second time in five weeks, while allowing seven hits and two runs. Closer Huston Street worked the ninth to record his eighth Angels save.
Texas fell to 47-75 and remains 26 games behind the AL West-leading Oakland Athletics. The Angels trail Oakland by only one game.
A few observations:
Don’t forget me: With all the big names in the Angels’ lineup to concern Nick Martinez, the Rangers' starter was done in by often-overlooked leadoff hitter Kole Calhoun.
It was Calhoun’s home run into the upper deck of the right-field stands in the fifth inning that turned a solid Martinez (2-9) effort into defeat.
Calhoun’s blast traveled an estimated 413 feet. With two teammates on base, it turned a 1-1 tie into a 4-1 Angels lead. The home run came one pitch after Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux made a mound visit.
Two innings earlier, Calhoun’s one-out double into the right-field corner set up Mike Trout’s sacrifice fly that tied the score 1-1. The threat for more runs didn’t die there, but Martinez did manage to strike out Josh Hamilton with two Angels in scoring position to end the threat.
Martinez delighted the Rangers faithful by fanning former Rangers star Hamilton three times. Reliever Neftali Feliz struck out Hamilton for a fourth time with the bases loaded and two out in the ninth.
In six innings, Martinez limited the Angels to four runs on six hits. He struck out six and issued one walk.
Late rally: With Richards finally tiring and then pulled in the eighth, the Rangers began a late rally against reliever Kevin Jepsen. Mike Carp singled in a run to make it 5-2. Adrian Beltre’s fourth hit and second RBI made it 5-3. Alex Rios’ infield out plated another for a 5-4 score.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia went to side-arming reliever Joe Smith with Rangers at first and second and two outs. Geovany Soto hit into fielder’s choice grounder to shortstop to end the comeback attempt.
Freese again: David Freese scored what became the Angels’ decisive run. After doubling off Shawn Tolleson in the seventh, Freese scored from third on a double play.
Cleanup man: Richards shut the Rangers out in a seven-inning stint at Globe Life Park on July 11. But this time around, Beltre assured Texas fans there would be no repeat with a first-inning RBI single beyond the reach of Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick. Scoring from second was Shin-Soo Choo, who led off the game for the Rangers with a sharp single to left field.
Beltre’s average in the nine previous games had dropped nine points to .314, his lowest in almost two months. But four hits on Friday have him on the upswing again. The Rangers' cleanup hitter dunked a second hit to right field in the fourth and topped an infield single in the seventh. The rest of the Rangers touched Richards for four hits. Beltre then produced his second RBI with a single in the eighth.
Rookie debut: Rangers reliever Jon Edwards, summoned from Triple-A Round Rock earlier in the day, was brought on in the eighth inning to make his major league debut with Texas trailing by four runs. With his appearance the Rangers have used 36 pitchers this season, one shy of the major league baseball record for the most pitchers used in a season -- 37 by the San Diego Padres in 2002. Edwards, throwing in the mid-90s, retired the first batter he faced, Albert Pujols, on a popup.
Communication please: Left fielder Jim Adduci and shortstop Elvis Andrus narrowly avoided a collision in shallow left field chasing down a Pujols fly ball in the fifth. Andrus gave way at the last second to a hard-charging Adduci, who made the catch.
Adduci offered Rangers fans a glimmer of hope in the seventh with a drive to the wall with two teammates on base, but Calhoun gloved it on the warning track for the third out.
Up next: The Rangers and Angels meet in the second game of their set of three at 7:05 p.m. CT Saturday at Globe Life Park. Texas right-hander Colby Lewis (8-9, 5.42 ERA) goes against Los Angeles right-hander Matt Shoemaker (10-4, 3.89 ERA) on ESPN 103.3 FM and Fox Sports Southwest.