Martinez tames big names, but not Calhoun


ARLINGTON, Texas -- Nick Martinez could not have handled the heart of the Los Angeles Angels lineup any better.

The guys with the familiar names batting Nos. 2 through 7 -- Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, Howie Kendrick, Erick Aybar and Brennan Boesch -- were a combined 0-for-16 against the Rangers starter.

But down at the bottom of the lineup, Nos. 8 and 9 hitters David Freese and Chris Iannetta combined for three hits off the Texas Rangers starter.

Most prominent in the spoiler role in Friday’s 5-4 Angels victory at Globe Life Park, however, was leadoff batter Kole Calhoun. He had three hits, including the biggest blow of the game -- a three-run home run into the upper deck of the right-field porch in the fifth inning.

“I felt like I made good pitches and attacked the heart of their order," Martinez said.

But when facing Calhoun, Freese and Iannetta, Martinez was disappointed to get some pitches in the sweet spot, having too often to come in with fastballs in fastball counts.

Rangers manager Ron Washington said Martinez was trying to go low and away on the pitch that turned into Calhoun’s 413-foot homer, snapped a 1-1 tie and propelled the Angels to a 4-1 lead they would not relinquish. The pitch caught the heart of the plate.

The Rangers rallied in the eighth to close within a run. But with two on base, they came up a hit shy of tying the score.

“This team has all the fight in the world," Martinez said. “We’re having a rough year, but we still have a championship mentality -- a will to win."

Edwards debuts: Rangers reliever Jon Edwards made his major league debut in eighth inning, as he retired two and allowed one hit, one walk and no runs.

“There was a lot of emotion," said Edwards, who was pitching with family and friends in the stands. “But I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I’d be. I’d say if I learned something, it would be to just keep doing what I’ve been doing all along."

Washington and Edwards shared a laugh on the mound when the manager made the pitching change.

“He was just reassuring me, and it loosened me up," Edwards said.

Washington was impressed with Edwards’ effort.

“He had some nerves working, but he showed me what he was made of when he dropped that breaking ball on Aybar for that called third strike," he said.