Saturday, July 12, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Angels 5, Rangers 2
By Randy Jennings
Special to ESPNDallas.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers are playing better, but their losing streak continues to grow.
The Los Angeles Angels used the pitching of Jered Weaver and a four-run outburst in the sixth inning to deal Texas a 5-2 defeat Saturday night at Globe Life Park.
The loss was the seventh in succession for the Rangers and their 21st in 24 games.
A few observations:
Great for 5: Rangers starter Miles Mikolas did not look like a pitcher with a 12.46 ERA. That was his ERA when he took the mound for his third career start. Even though he seemed to tire somewhat in a rough sixth inning that skewed his pitching line, the Rangers have to be thrilled that the 25-year-old limited the Angels to one run (unearned) and four hits through five.
The night turned sour for Mikolas in the sixth. Howie Kendrick tied the score by rolling a single to right and David Freese put the Angels ahead on a base hit. Hank Conger made it 5-2, grounding a two-run double between Carlos Pena and the first-base bag.
Just five days earlier, Houston clubbed Mikolas for 12 hits and nine earned runs.
Ground under repair: Rookie second baseman Rougned Odor is a busy guy when he comes to the plate. He scrapes the dirt in the batter's box to get it just right, then draws a couple of lines in the sand with the handle of his bat before settling into his ready position. The routine worked nicely in the second inning when the 20-year-old spanked an RBI double, the key hit for a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Odor picked up another hit, a leadoff single in the seventh.
Defensive gems: Leonys Martin banged into the center-field wall chasing down Kole Calhoun's deep drive to start the game. ... Left fielder Jake Smolinski battled the sun in the second to make a diving catch on Josh Hamilton's liner in the alley. ... Smolinski made an even better play in the third, laying out at full stretch to snag Albert Pujols' bid for extra bases with three men on base. Pujols had to settle for a sacrifice fly. ... Elvis Andrus gloved a tricky hop and Odor made a nice turn on an eighth-inning double play.
Streak ends: Adrian Beltre, the American League's leading batter, saw his 15-game hitting streak come to an end after going 0-for-3. Beltre contributed a productive out in the third when his infield out moved Alex Rios to third base with one out. He drew a walk in the fifth.
Missed chances: The Rangers went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position in Friday's 3-0 loss to the Angels. In the first inning against Weaver, the Rangers went 0-for-3 with the heart of the order, Rios, Beltre and Martin going down. Texas did the same in the third, going 0-for-3 after Rios' leadoff double.
Notes: Angels left fielder Collin Cowgill left the game after his fouled bunt attempt struck him in the face. He received stiches to his nose and was taken to a local hospital for further testing. ... Rangers pitching limited Mike Trout to one hit, a soft second-inning single. Trout homered in the first two games of the series.
Up next: The Rangers and Angels complete their four-game series in the final game before the All-Star break with the Angels' left-handed pitcher Tyler Skaggs being opposed by an as yet to be determined Rangers starter. Scott Baker and recently promoted Ryan Feierabend are the likely candidates. Starting time is 2:05 p.m. CT Sunday at Globe Life Park.