Sunday, July 13, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Angels 10, Rangers 7
By Randy Jennings
Special to ESPNDallas.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The All-Star break can't arrive fast enough for the Texas Rangers.
The Los Angeles Angels defeated Texas 10-7 on a searing 98-degree Sunday afternoon in front of 34,750 at Globe Life Stadium to complete a four-game series sweep.
The Rangers have lost eight straight and 22 of their last 25, so a four-day break couldn‘t hurt.
Mike Trout had a pair of doubles and drove in four runs to lead the Angels' attack.
A few observations:
So close: Rangers starter Scott Baker was a strike away from getting out of a long second inning, but Trout’s soft fly fell in a perfect spot for a three-run double. Left fielder Jake Smolinski made a diving attempt at the kind of catch he made twice on Saturday evening, but didn’t arrive in time to get his glove under the ball. Chris Iannetta caught the Rangers by surprise when he didn’t stop at third and scored easily.
After the Rangers tied the game in the third, the Angels came right back at Baker with a go-head run in the fourth on consecutive doubles by Kole Calhoun -- again off the glove of a diving Smolensk -- and Trout.
In his fourth start of the season, Baker was charged with five runs on nine hits in four innings.
Top spot: Daniel Robertson, inserted in the leadoff spot against a lefty, responded with two hits and scored a run. He finished 2-for-3, lifted for pinch hitter Leonys Martin in the seventh.
Bullpen blues: The Angels tacked on runs against all four Texas relievers.
Shawn Tolleson was roughed up for two runs in the fifth when the Angels increased their lead to 7-4. In his previous seven innings combined, the product of Allen High School had allowed just one run. Of the past 12 games in which Tolleson appeared, the Rangers have lost 11. But he has not been involved in a decision.
Neftali Feliz gave up a run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by the heavily booed Hamilton. Feliz and Tolleson walked their first batter and both scored.
When left-hander Ryan Feierabend made his Rangers debut in the seventh, he became the team’s 30th pitcher of the season, tying a club record. Feierabend needed two pitches to get the final out in that frame. An inning later, he surrendered a run when Martin couldn’t track down Albert Pujols drive to the warning track. It was scored an RBI double.
Neal Cotts, working the ninth, was touched for an RBI single by Chris Iannetta.
Timely hitting: With the Rangers down 4-1 and desperately seeking clutch hits, Alex Rios came through with a two-strike double to right field, driving in two runs in the third inning. Rios finished with two hits and three RBIs.
Not on the head: No secret that Adrian Beltre doesn’t enjoy pats on the head. So that’s exactly why Pujols, after reaching third base in the first inning, gave Beltre a head pat when the two spoke briefly. Beltre countered with a quick chop to Pujols body, all done in fun of course.
Fundamentals: The Rangers displayed solid situational hitting. In the first inning, Elvis Andrus hit behind the runner, advancing Robertson to third ahead of Alex Rios' sacrifice fly to center. Beltre rolled over on a ground ball to second base to score Andrus from third base in the third. As a pinch hitter, Martin put a ball in play to first base to allow Rougned Odor to score from third and cut the Angels' lead to 8-7.
Defensive gems: Chris Gimenez, making only his second start of the season at first base, reacted quickly to his right to snare Kole Calhoun's bases-loaded liner in the second inning…Beltre made a nice over-the-shoulder snag of a Hamilton looper to save a run in the eighth.
Up next: After the All-Star break and an off-day on Thursday, the Rangers will begin a seven-game, seven-day road trip Friday evening at Toronto. After three games with the Blue Jays, the Rangers head to New York for four with the Yankees before returning home again on July 25 for a homestand against Oakland and the Yankees.