Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Angels 11, Rangers 3
By Blair Angulo / Special to ESPNDallas.com
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- For the first time since his debut, Ryan Dempster failed to make it out of the fourth inning as the Texas Rangers dropped the opener of a three-game set against the Los Angeles Angels, 11-3, on Tuesday night. Dempster had gone at least six innings in seven consecutive starts. Some quick thoughts:
What it means: The second-place Oakland Athletics fell to the Detroit Tigers, 12-2, so the Rangers maintained their three-game lead in the American League West standings.
Hamilton exits: A wacky fourth inning began with Josh Hamilton's exit. He didn't take the field in the bottom half of the fourth due to sinus issues and was re-evaluated in the clubhouse. Leonys Martin replaced him in center field.
Injury to insult: Tanner Scheppers made only two pitches after replacing Dempster -- hitting Erick Aybar with his first to load the bases and then throwing to the backstop, allowing two runs to score. To make matters worse, Chris Iannetta slid into Scheppers while scoring the go-ahead run and Scheppers limped off with a bruised right knee. The club announced Scheppers would be re-evaluated Wednesday.
Frantic fourth inning: The Angels sent 12 men to the plate in the fourth and scored eight runs, the most they've posted in an inning at home this season. Dempster lasted just 3 1/3 innings, surrendering five earned runs on six hits and three walks.
Napoli's house: Mike Napoli continued to torture his former team, launching a solo homer in the third to put the Rangers on the board. He has a home run every 14.6 career at-bats at Angel Stadium (57 HR in 830 AB), the best ratio all-time in this park. Napoli is hitting .463 (19-for-41) against the Angels this season.
Ross returns: Left-handed reliever Robbie Ross dazzled in his first appearance since being reinstated Saturday. Ross, who spent the first half of the month on the disabled list with a left forearm strain, retired the side in order in the seventh, striking out Mike Trout
First-pitch hack: Ian Kinsler was unable to extend his arms on an inside fastball in his first at-bat, popping out weakly to the right side. Jered Weaver tried jamming Kinsler again in the third inning but, that time, left his pitch up. Kinsler whacked the 88-mph offering to left field for a two-run homer, his 18th of the season.
Same old, same old: The Rangers have yet to beat Weaver in Anaheim. The right-hander has a career record of 9-0 against Texas at home, and earned his 100th career victory.
Two-out trouble: Indications of Dempster's struggles came early. After retiring the first two batters in the third inning, Dempster had trouble with his command and got himself into a bases loaded jam. Aybar singled and Torii Hunter and Kendrys Morales both walked, but Dempster induced a harmless grounder off the bat of Howie Kendrick to escape.
Up next: The teams continue their three-game series Wednesday. LHP Derek Holland (10-6, 4.50 ERA) takes the mound for the Rangers against former mentor C.J. Wilson (12-9, 3.73 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 9:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM, FSSW and ESPN.