Final

Series: Game 1 of 3

LA Angels leads 1-0 (as of 4/5)

Game 1: Tuesday, April 5
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LA Angels3
Game 2: Wednesday, April 6
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in 12
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Game 3: Thursday, April 7
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Rangers 2

(0-1, 0-1 away)

Angels 3

(1-0, 1-0 home)

10:05 PM ET, April 5, 2005

Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, California 

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W: B. Colon (1-0)

L: R. Drese (0-1)

S: F. Rodriguez (1)

Colon holds Rangers to one run in 6-plus innings

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- While the Angels have a ponderous new name, Vladimir Guerrero seems unchanged.

Before the first inning ended Tuesday night in the Angels' 3-2 season-opening victory over Texas, fans already were chanting "MVP, MVP," for the slugger who won the honor last year.

Guerrero hit a solo homer in the first inning and added an RBI double in the sixth to lead his team, formerly the Anaheim Angels, now the Los Angeles Angels -- or officially, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

Bengie Molina singled home a run in the seventh to cap the Angels' scoring. Bartolo Colon held the Rangers to one run in 6 2-3 innings, and new closer Francisco Rodriguez pitched a perfect ninth for the save.

Guerrero is coming off a season when he hit .337, with 39 homers and 126 RBI in his first year with the Angels.

Asked if Guerrero can get much better, manager Mike Scioscia smiled, shook his head and said, "If he does, we'll have to find a new league for him."

Texas manager Buck Showalter said: "He's the MVP for a reason. He's not picking on us, he's picking on everybody. With the range he has with his bat, it's hard to get him out."

Guerrero said through a translator, "One game it will be me, another game, it will be someone else. We have many players on this team who can do it."

The game was the Angels' first with Los Angeles in front of their name since the 1965 season, when they changed it to the California Angels. They moved to Anaheim in 1966, then took the city's name in 1997.

Team owner Arte Moreno changed the name from Anaheim Angels to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim during the offseason, drawing the ire of city officials both in Anaheim and Los Angeles.

Anaheim officials still are fighting the name change in court.

Mark Teixeira accounted for both the Rangers' runs, with an RBI single in the third and a solo homer off Scot Shields in the eighth.

Rodriguez, taking over for club career saves leader Troy Percival, in quick order struck out Rod Barajas on three pitches, got Alfonso Soriano on a fly to right, and Hank Blalock on a grounder to first.

"I'm mentally prepared to be the closer," said the 23-year-old Rodriguez. "I wanted to stay ahead in the count and keep the crowd in it, and I was able to do that."

Percival was let go during the offseason and signed with Detroit.

Guerrero, who seems to have the ability to hit pitches over the fence regardless of where they're thrown, sent Ryan Drese's shoulder-high fastball in the first inning slicing over the 370-foot sign in right-center.

After Teixeira tied it with his RBI single, Guerrero put the Angels back in front with his double to the wall in left-center, scoring Jeff DaVanon.

DaVanon's two-out single ended a stretch of 15 consecutive batters retired by Drese.

Molina's RBI single off Drese came after Robb Quinlan doubled with two out.

Colon gave up a two-out single in the seventh inning on his 108th pitch of the game, and Shields replaced him to end the inning.

Colon gave up six hits, struck out five and walked four.

Drese, who turned 29 Tuesday, gave up three runs on six hits and a walk over his seven innings.

Game notes


Brent Downing, a U.S. Marine who recently returned from duty in Iraq, threw the ceremonial first pitch. His father, former Angels slugger Brian Downing, was behind the plate to catch the pitch -- a strike. ... Manager Mike Scioscia said it made the opener extra special to be able to raise the AL West championship flag, "although that was not the flag we hoped to be raising." Boston eliminated the Angels in the first round of the playoffs last year. ... The Rangers have opened the last five seasons on the road, including starting the 2001 campaign in Puerto Rico. They're 1-4 over that stretch.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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