Rapid Reaction: Angels 8, Rangers 4
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers couldn't keep the ball in the park as the Los Angeles Angels hammered four home runs in a 8-4 victory Saturday afternoon to even the series. The Rangers fell to 3-2 while the Angels snapped a three-game losing streak to improve to 2-3.
First-inning struggles: Matt Harrison didn't have any life on his fastball in the first inning, and the Angels jumped on him for four runs. Albert Pujols did the first damage, drilling the first Harrison fastball that registered more than 90 mph to center field for a two-run home run and a 2-0 lead. After Josh Hamilton walked on a 3-and-2 pitch, Mark Trumbo went the other way on a fastball that got up in the strike zone for another two-run homer to give the Angels a 4-0 lead five batters into the game.
Moreland's first hit: Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland got his money's worth on his first hit of the season, crushing a 2-2 pitch into the home run porch in right field in the third inning. The ball traveled 435 feet, halfway up in the upper deck. Moreland had gone 13 at-bats without a hit to start the season.
Messing with Josh: Rangers manager Ron Washington intentionally walked Pujols three times with first base open to get to his former player, Hamilton. It worked. Hamilton, in the midst of a brutal homecoming, struck out twice against Harrison to end both innings. Hamilton flew out to left field against rookie left-hander Joe Ortiz. Hamilton heads into Sunday's game with a 1-for-20 streak and 10 strikeouts.
Pujols nightmares: Pujols brought back memories of Game 3 of the 2011 World Series, in which he had three home runs in a 16-7 Cardinals victory over the Rangers that gave St. Louis a 2-1 lead in the series. Pujols had two homers Saturday, one in the first and another in the sixth. He didn't get a chance for a third with the intentional walks.
Frasor's rough day: Reliever Jason Frasor faced four Angels and allowed two home runs. Frasor allowed a leadoff homer to Peter Bourjos, his first of the season. After getting two outs, he tried a 3-2 fastball to Pujols, who lined his second home run of the season over the left-field fence. Frasor has allowed five home runs at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington in 16 1/3 innings to go with a 9.92 ERA.
Cruz missile: Right fielder Nelson Cruz extended his hitting streak to start the season to five games with a solo home run in the bottom of the ninth. Cruz's streak of multihit games ended at four, but he hit his first home run of the season.
Power surge: The Rangers had two home runs in four games entering Saturday. They better than doubled that output with three long balls. In addition to Moreland and Cruz, Ian Kinsler hit his team-leading second home run in the third inning.
Up next: The Rangers and Angels will play on national TV on ESPN, the Rangers' second consecutive "Sunday Night Baseball" game on the network. It's a classic pitching matchup. Right-hander Yu Darvish (1-0, 0.00 ERA) makes his first start after coming within an out of a perfect game Tuesday night in Houston. Angels right-hander Jered Weaver (0-0, 1.50) is always a tough matchup for the Rangers.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.