Rangers squander scoring opportunities in 4-1 loss to Angels
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- The Texas Rangers clearly don't expect Josh Hamilton to solve their problems on offense, and Los Angeles Angels fans can attest to the wisdom of that attitude.
Yet while the Rangers wait for Hamilton's expected return, they're still struggling to score - and the Angels capitalized on the latest slew of missed chances.
C.J. Cron hit a tiebreaking, two-run single in the sixth inning, and the Angels sent the Rangers to their fifth loss in six games, 4-1 Saturday night.
Albert Pujols tied it with a bases-loaded single for the Angels, who scored three runs in the sixth even though Texas threw out Kole Calhoun and Erick Aybar at the plate. Colby Lewis was outstanding before that sixth-inning trouble, but his teammates couldn't rally.
The Rangers got eight hits, but only Mitch Moreland's second-inning double was for extra bases. Texas went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position, stranding 10 and scoring its only run on a wild pitch by C.J. Wilson in the fourth.
"I would believe that some of these guys are frustrated, yeah," manager Jeff Banister said. "They're frustrated with the results, but we're only 17 games in. My job is to not let them get frustrated in situations. ... I want them to continue to grind it out. Two weeks from now, we'll be talking a different story."
Lewis (1-2) didn't allow a runner to reach second base until the sixth, when he was abruptly chased with the bases loaded. Texas reliever Roman Mendez allowed three runs to score.
"I'm frustrated with myself," Lewis said. "When you're in close ballgames like that, I feel like your pitch count just goes up because you're always worried about the next pitch. You end up throwing more pitches than you're used to throwing, so it doesn't allow you to let up on any pitches, because every pitch matters."
Pujols also drew a bases-loaded walk in the seventh as Los Angeles climbed back to .500 and Texas dropped to 6-11.
Wilson yielded seven hits and three walks during 5 2-3 innings for the Angels, but Texas pushed across just one run. Wilson found trouble in every inning against his former team, but kept the Rangers off the board until the fourth when Adrian Beltre hit a leadoff single and eventually scored.
"We're going out there and trying to play hard and put ourselves in a situation to give ourselves an opportunity to score some runs every night," Moreland said. "It's just one of those dry spells right now where it seems like we can't push those extra runs across."
Los Angeles' bullpen was rock-solid again, with five relievers throwing 3 1-3 innings of one-hit ball. Vinny Pestano (1-0) escaped a bases-loaded jam created by Wilson in the sixth, getting Robinson Chirinos on a groundout. Huston Street then saved his third consecutive game for the Angels, his seventh in seven chances this season.
The AL West rivals played the middle game of their series while wrapping up a deal to send Hamilton back to Texas, according to multiple media reports. The troubled 2010 AL MVP could be a boost to the Rangers' struggling lineup, while Los Angeles is still unable to find production in left field after Hamilton's two poor seasons and Matt Joyce's rough start to his first season with the Angels. Joyce went 0 for 3 with a walk, dropping his average to .132.
Aybar made a heads-up defensive play in the third, catching Leonys Martin wandering off second after Martin stole the bag. Martin and Banister started to argue the call, but decided against it after replays showed Martin stepping off the base.
IT NEVER RAINS?
Batting practice was canceled when an unexpected storm dropped rain all over the Southland, forcing the teams to hit indoors. Any weather delay is a rarity in sunny Southern California, but the game went on as planned with a game-time temperature of 63 degrees. Wilson wore sleeves. "The wind was blowing, so the two-seamer was dipping," he said with a smile. "The sleeves were a power move on my part."
Angels: Wilson's start was pushed back two days due to soreness in his left arm. He got roughly two hours of treatment each day on his elbow, and he'll get an extra day off before his next start due to the Angels' off day on Monday.
Rangers: Nick Martinez (2-0, 0.45) brings his microscopic ERA into his fourth start of 2015.
Angels: Hector Santiago (2-1, 2.45) goes after his third straight victory.