AP Photo/LM OteroKendrys Morales’ grand slam was his second HR of the Angels' big sixth inning.
A big series in the American League West started out with a bang Monday as seven home runs left Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. The Los Angeles Angels beat the Texas Rangers and closed to within four games of the division lead on the strength of a nine-run sixth inning.
The Angels' big inning featured two blasts from Kendrys Morales. After hitting a go-ahead, two-run shot off starter Roy Oswalt while batting left-handed, Morales hit a grand slam off Robbie Ross batting right-handed.
Morales is just the third player in history to homer from each side of the plate in the same inning (Mark Bellhorn on Aug. 29, 2002; Carlos Baerga on April 8, 1993).
Mike Trout continued his torrid pace by hitting his 17th long ball of the year and ninth of the month. His 2-for-5 night raised his batting average to an AL-leading .351. The rookie’s .785 slugging percentage in July is tops in the majors.
The Angels scored a season-high 15 runs. After failing to score in double digits in any game in April or May, Albert Pujols and company have done it nine times since the start of June.
Roy Oswalt turned in a disappointing start for the Rangers, allowing eight earned runs on 11 hits in 5 1/3 innings. It is the second time this season Oswalt has given up at least eight earned runs in a start. Entering this year, he had a total of two such games in 11 seasons.
On Monday, Oswalt was burned on his fastball, as Angels hitters went 9-for-15 with two home runs in at-bats ending with an Oswalt fastball.
A silver lining for the Rangers is that Josh Hamilton had his best game in a while, going 3-for-4 with a double and a homer. Hamilton had two extra-base hits in a game for the first time since May 30 and had his first three-hit game since May 11.