Final

Series: Game 1 of 4

Texas leads 1-0 (as of 4/14)

Game 1: Monday, April 14
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Game 2: Tuesday, April 15
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Game 3: Wednesday, April 16
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Game 4: Thursday, April 17
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Angels 0

(7-6, 2-5 away)

Rangers 4

(5-8, 3-4 home)

    8:05 PM ET, April 14, 2003

    Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas 

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    W: I. Valdez (2-1)

    L: K. Appier (1-2)

    Once Valdes dials in, Rangers shut down Angels

    ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Even after throwing four straight balls to the game's first batter, Texas starter Ismael Valdes knew he was close to the plate.

    Once he got a clarification from umpire Dan Iassogna about his strike zone, Valdes didn't miss many pitches.

    The right-hander threw eight sharp innings, striking out seven while throwing 75 of his 119 pitches for strikes, to lead the Rangers to a 4-0 win over Anaheim on Monday night, snapping the Angels' five-game winning streak.

    "Those were pretty close pitches,'' Valdes said of the leadoff walk to David Eckstein, who was erased on an inning-ending double play.

    "The double play helped settle him down, even though a couple of those pitches on the walk were questionable,'' Rangers manager Buck Showalter said.

    Valdes (2-1) allowed only five singles and walked just one other batter, coming three outs short of his sixth career shutout.

    Francisco Cordero worked the ninth, preserving the Rangers' first shutout since last June 21 against Pittsburgh, when starter Kenny Rogers went seven innings.

    The Angels were coming off a three-game sweep at Oakland and had the longest winning streak in the majors. They scored 26 runs in the series and beat Tim Hudson and AL Cy Young winner Barry Zito, who had won 10 straight decisions.

    Carl Everett homered twice, fulfilling his pregame prediction to Valdes, and Hank Blalock also homered for the Rangers off Kevin Appier.

    Appier (1-2) lost his ninth straight decision in his last 12 starts against Texas since May 23, 1996. He gave up four runs on five hits, including the three homers and a triple.

    Anaheim didn't get a runner past first base until the sixth. Eckstein singled and moved to third on Tim Salmon's two-out liner that glanced off Alex Rodriguez's glove as the shortstop extended his arm to try to catch the ball.

    Valdes struck out Garret Anderson to get out of the jam and pumped his fist as he walked off the mound.

    "When I was hitting my spots, I was hitting corners and making the right pitches at the right time,'' Valdes said. "I'm not a strikeout pitcher, I'm not a power pitcher. I just tried to keep the ball down.''

    While Valdes had been bothered by a blistered index finger this season, Showalter said the pitcher came out after eight innings because of a stiff shoulder.

    After Eckstein's leadoff walk, Valdes struck out Darin Erstad before Salmon's grounder to Rodriguez started a double play.

    The Angels had runners on in the third through fifth innings, but none got past first. Chone Figgins was picked off by Valdes after his two-out single in the third.

    "He didn't make any mistakes,'' Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia said of Valdes, who pitched for the Angels in 2001. "He has uncanny command, and when he combines that with velocity, he's tough.''

    Everett's second homer, his third of the season, came with one out in the seventh to make it 3-0. Michael Young then tripled to right past a diving Salmon, and Appier was done for the night.

    Einar Diaz, the Rangers' ninth-place hitter, greeted reliever Ben Weber with an RBI single that made it 4-0.

    "Appier gave us a chance to win,'' Scioscia said. "There were not a lot of guys they had in scoring position. These guys just got a hold of a few pitches.''

    Blalock's solo homer, his fourth of the season, came in the first. Everett hit his first homer an inning later.

    Both of Everett's homers went into the second deck of stands in right, making him just the fifth player to do that in the same game. It was his 15th multihomer game.

    The Rangers, who have led the majors in homers the past two seasons, top the big leagues again with 26 -- the most they've ever had through 13 games. They have scored 40 of their 51 runs on home runs.

    Game notes


    Rangers RF Juan Gonzalez is in a 2-for-20 slump, both hits being singles, that has dropped his batting average from .313 to .231. ... Appier is 1-8 at The Ballpark in Arlington, where he made his only All-Star appearance, while with Kansas City in 1995. ... Rangers CF Doug Glanville left with a tweaked right hamstring sustained while running out a grounder in the seventh. He is day-to-day.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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