Rapid Reaction: Angels 8, Rangers 3
The Rangers' brutal start to September continued on Saturday night as the Los Angeles Angels took advantage of Texas fielding errors and more offensive futility for a 8-3 victory.
AL West race: The Rangers have handed off the lead in the American League West on this road trip and fallen 1½ games behind the Oakland A's. Texas has lost 2½ games since Wednesday, with poor starting pitching and sloppy defense have contributed to one of the worst stretches of the season for the Rangers. Texas is 1-4 on the trip and has lost six of its past eight games.
Another poor start: Derek Holland had his second ineffective start on the road trip. He got this six-game trip off to a bad beginning in Oakland and had an equally disappointing start Saturday, allowing eight runs -- four of them earned -- in 5⅔ innings. Holland was rocked for eight hits and gave up a devastating first-inning home run to Mark Trumbo as the Angels took an early 3-1 lead. Holland wasn't helped by the Rangers' defense but still didn't do what he needed to do to pitch around it.
Error-prone Rangers: Their defense has been great all season, but on Saturday night, the Rangers' glove work was a total letdown. The Rangers had three errors before the Angels' eighth batter in the game. There were two errors in the bottom of the first with the Rangers leading 1-0. Holland had a throwing error as Angels leadoff hitter J.B. Shuck reached second base. After Erick Aybar's sacrifice bunt, Adrian Beltre had a fielding error on Mike Trout's ground ball to tie the game at one. The Angels took advantage of the extra outs as Trumbo broke the tie with a home run.
Offense struggles, too: The Rangers once again did little with runners in scoring position, going 2-for-10 for the night. Ian Kinsler and Beltre combined to leave five runners on base.
Andrus stays hot: Elvis Andrus nearly hit his second home run in two nights when he belted a line drive off the base of the left-field wall in the eighth inning. He was 2-for-4 and has four hits in his past six at-bats entering Sunday. Andrus is batting .421 for his past nine games.
Pierzynski homers: Catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who is a disliked player in Anaheim, belted his 17th home run of the season in the top of the ninth.
Up next: The Rangers try avoid a disastrous three-game sweep to the Angels when right-hander Nick Tepesch (4-6, 4.67 ERA) starts for the first time since July 5. He'll be faced by Angels left-hander Jason Vargas (8-6, 3.80) at 2:35 p.m. Sunday afternoon on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM.
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.