Sunday, July 22, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Angels 7, Rangers 4
By Blair Angulo
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Matt Harrison lost for only the second time in his last 11 starts Sunday night as the Texas Rangers dropped a 7-4 decision to the Los Angeles Angels. Some quick thoughts:
What it means: The Angels took the rubber match of the three-game series, once again shrinking the Rangers' lead in the division to five games. ... Texas is 4-5 against Los Angeles this season with 10 head-to-head games remaining. The clubs next meet July 30 for the first of a four-game set in Arlington.
In too long: Harrison (12-5) had made 92 pitches through six innings, but manager Ron Washington sent his left-hander back to the mound in the seventh down 3-2. Washington found himself walking to the mound three pitches later after Bobby Wilson belted his first homer since August of last year.
No relief: With the top of the Angels order due up, Washington summoned righty Alexi Ogando hoping to keep the deficit at two runs. Ogando wasn't the answer, giving up four hits -- including a two-run homer to Albert Pujols -- and retiring just one batter before he too was yanked.
Too much pull: David Murphy came close to tying the game in the sixth inning, but hooked a Dan Haren fastball foul down the right field line. It would have been Murphy's first home run this month and first since he hit two on June 27 at home against the Detroit Tigers. More importantly, a home run there would have been the momentum shift the Rangers needed.
Crushed by Cruz: Remember that mammoth shot Nelson Cruz hit here last month? Cruz launched another tape-measure shot at Angel Stadium on Sunday to pull the Rangers to within a run in the fourth inning. The last big homer he hit was a 484-foot blast that landed near the flag poles behind the left-center field wall. This one didn't travel as far, but it was still a no-doubter -- Angels center fielder Peter Bourjos turned around to simply admire it.
Rough stretch: Leadoff batter Ian Kinsler continued his recent struggles at the plate, going 0-for-4 with three ground outs, a strikeout and a walk. Kinsler had two hits Saturday but has only four total in his last 30 at-bats. The second baseman will surely welcome a trip home Monday -- Kinsler is hitting .306 in Arlington this year. Josh Hamilton was 0-for-5 and struck out three times, including to end the game while representing the tying run.
Contained early: The Rangers didn't have as prosperous a beginning as they did Saturday, when they torched the reeling Ervin Santana for six runs and eight hits through the first two innings. Texas didn't get a hit until the 14th batter, Michael Young, lined a single back up the middle.
Bad start: Harrison tried sneaking a 3-and-1 fastball past Mike Trout to open the game but the 20-year-old phenom clearly wasn't up there to looking to walk. Trout lined a triple to the right field corner, scored on Pujols' ground-rule double and, just like that, Harrison got off on the wrong foot.
Up next: Scott Feldman vs. Felix Doubront, 7:05 p.m. Saturday on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and FSSW.