Angels increase AL West lead to three games with win

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- In need of offense and already with two outs, the Los Angeles Angels started swinging away. A few singles and a double added up to their sixth straight win.

Adam Kennedy singled in the go-ahead run with the bases loaded and Chone Figgins added a two-run single later in the sixth inning, helping the Angels beat the Texas Rangers 7-4 on Thursday night.

The Angels increased their lead in the AL West to three games over idle Oakland with their 40th comeback win.

"When you go into a series with [Bartolo] Colon, then [John] Lackey, then that [Ervin] Santana kid, that just shows you the depth they have," Texas catcher Rod Barajas said of the Angels. "Good pitching beats good hitting. They're a team you can tell that's in the middle of the race, and every out counts to them."

Santana (10-8) got the victory, allowing three runs and six hits, striking out three and walking two in six innings.

"My good stuff is not there," he said. "I kept battling and battling."

Santana became the first Angels' rookie to win 10 games since Jason Dickson won 13 in 1997.

"We were ahead 2-0 and we had him on the ropes," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. "He bent but didn't break. He got into some tense situations that he didn't let get away and he kept them in the ballgame."

Kelvim Escobar pitched three innings to record his first save of the season and first since May 4, 2003, when he pitched for Toronto against the Angels. He allowed the Rangers' last run on an RBI groundout by Jason Botts in the ninth.

Escobar was efficient, throwing only 36 pitches over three innings, giving relievers Francisco Rodriguez and Scot Shields some much-needed rest.

The Angels are getting Escobar back at a crucial time, having lost him to the disabled list three times this season because he needed right elbow surgery.

"It's been a tough year for me," he said. "To be able to be patient and work hard to get to the point where I'm at makes me feel good."

Edison Volquez (0-4) took the loss, giving up three runs and four hits, striking out one and walking one in six innings.

The Angels scored all but one of their runs with two outs.

Volquez loaded the bases in the sixth after replacing rookie starter Chris Young. Kennedy singled to right to give the Angels a 4-3 lead. Figgins fell behind 0-2 in the count and then followed with a two-run single to right-center.

"To score runs with two outs, you have to be efficient and we were," Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. "Those were three tough games and we did nice things on the mound against an offense that can grab you anytime."

Bengie Molina homered off Erasmo Ramirez in the eighth for the Angels' seventh run.

The Rangers tied the game 3-3 on a sacrifice fly by Michael Young in the fifth.

The Angels scored three runs in the third. Vladimir Guerrero's broken-bat single and a two-run double by Casey Kotchman gave them a 3-2 lead.

Texas led 2-0 on Mark Teixeira's sacrifice fly in the first and Hank Blalock's run-scoring single in the second.

The Rangers head to Oakland for a three-game series starting Friday.

"We know what they're playing for and we know what the Angels are playing for," Barajas said. "We want to go and end this season on a positive note, and if that's by knocking somebody out, so be it."

Game notes
Figgins tied Luis Polonia (1993) for third-most stolen bases in Angels history with 55. ... Molina has 60 career homers, putting him one away from tying Lance Parrish for most by an Angels catcher. ... Young extended his career-high hitting streak to 19 games with a single in the first. He needs seven hits to tie his club record of 216 set last season. ... Guerrero has hit safely in all 34 career games against Texas, the longest streak by a player against one team since Ken Griffey Jr. went 35 games against
Cleveland from 1992-96. ... Los Angeles won the season series 12-4, including the last seven at home.