Izturis scores winning run in ninth on botched relay

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- The Los Angeles Angels came back in time to keep up their recent dominance of the Texas Rangers.

Adam Kennedy's one-out double in the ninth inning drove in Darin Erstad with the tying run, and pinch-runner Maicer Izturis scored the winner on the botched relay from the outfield to rally the Angels to a 5-4 victory over the Rangers on Tuesday night.

"Those are fun games," Erstad said. "We keep playing till the end. They're a dangerous team, and they're a tough team to keep down. It's pretty much Murderer's Row when you're going against them. Fortunately, we've got good pitching."

The two-time AL West division champions have won eight straight over the Rangers, 13 of 15, and each of the last nine meetings in Anaheim. Texas tied the franchise record for most consecutive defeats in one opponent's ballpark.

Rangers closer Francisco Cordero (0-1) nicked Erstad with a 3-2 pitch leading off the ninth and Casey Kotchman followed with an opposite-field single. After Izturis ran for Kotchman, rookie Jeff Mathis tried to advance the runners, but popped up a bunt to Cordero.

Kennedy lined the next pitch into the right field corner as Erstad scored. New third base coach Dino Ebel held up Izturis at third, then waved him home when second baseman D'Angelo Jimenez mishandled the relay from Adrian Brown for an error.

"I was the most excited person in the stadium after that hit," said Mathis, who entered the game defensively in the eighth after
Tim Salmon pinch-hit for catcher Jose Molina.

J.C. Romero (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the

"It shows a lot of character whenever you can win games coming
from behind like that," Romero said. "They played us tough the
whole game and got some key hits early, but we battled through it
and didn't give in."

Jimenez entered the contest in the second inning after rookie
second baseman Ian Kinsler dislocated his left thumb while getting
thrown out trying to steal second base in the top of the inning.
Kinsler's thumb was placed in a splint and will be reset Wednesday.
He will probably go on the disabled list.

Hank Blalock homered twice and drove in three runs, and Michael
Young had a sacrifice fly for the Rangers.

Blalock recorded his sixth career two-homer game and third
against the Angels. He connected his first two times against Jeff
Weaver, who allowed four runs and nine hits over six-plus innings
in his home debut with Los Angeles.

Rick Bauer allowed a run and five hits over 5 1-3 innings in his
10th big league start and first since Oct. 3, 2004. The
right-hander was recalled from Triple-A Oklahoma last Friday, when
R.A. Dickey was sent down one day after giving up six home runs in
less than four innings against the Detroit Tigers.

"I threw good and kept the team in the game," Bauer said.
"That's all you can ask for from a starter. So I'm happy about the
outing, but it would have been nice for the team to win because
we're kind of scuffling right now."

Vladimir Guerrero went 4-for-4, including three singles against
Bauer, and has hit safely in all 38 career games against Texas --
the longest streak by any player against one team since the start
of divisional play in 1969. The 2004 AL MVP is batting .453 with 13
homers and 30 RBI against the Rangers.

"I don't care what kind of streak he's got. You just try and
keep him in the ballpark," Bauer said. "If he hits a single, I'm
happy with that. Hopefully, he comes up with nobody on."

The Angels narrowed the gap to 4-3 in the seventh with
Kotchman's RBI double and Chone Figgins' sacrifice fly. Akinori
Otsuka pitched a scoreless eighth with the help of Brown, who made
a diving backhanded catch of Garret Anderson's sinking liner in the
gap and relayed to first base to double up Guerrero.

"Even though we were pretty much showing some life all through
the game, we couldn't get that key hit until the end," Romero
said. "Adam Kennedy had a good at-bat, and we did the little
things to come up with this win. Jeff Weaver battled and gave us a
chance and changed their momentum a little bit."

The Angels took a 1-0 lead in the first when Anderson hit an RBI
double just over the outstretched glove of center fielder Laynce
Nix at the fence.

Texas manager Buck Showalter shuffled his lineup after watching
his team produce just nine runs over the previous four games. The
switch-hitting Brown started in right field instead of Kevin Mench
and batted leadoff instead of Brad Wilkerson, who was dropped to
seventh in the order after going 6-for-36 with 16 strikeouts in his
first eight contests.

Gold Glove first baseman Mark Teixeira, who turned 26 years old
on Tuesday, was the DH because of a sore ring finger on his glove
hand -- the result of a line-drive off Anderson's bat in Monday's
5-2 loss.

Game notes
Anderson has 19 RBI in his last 19 games against the
Rangers. ... Nix singled in the seventh after starting the season
in an 0-for-20 drought. ... The Angels have outscored the Rangers
29-5 in the first inning during their last 15 meetings.