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Escobar wins No. 10; Angels avoid sweep vs. Rangers

Angels 5, Rangers 2

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Kelvim Escobar took another All-Star snub in stride.

The Los Angeles Angels right-hander won his 10th game, striking out eight while allowing one run and three hits over seven innings in a 5-2 victory over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.

The win came only hours after Escobar found out he missed another chance to make the American League team for next week's All-Star Game.

After helping the Angels avoid a three-game sweep, Escobar (10-3) insisted that he wasn't trying to prove anything after being denied his first All-Star appearance.

"No, I never worry about things out of my hands," Escobar said. "I went out there and pitched good because we needed this game."

The AL West-leading Angels had lost six of eight games.

Michael Young had an RBI single in the first to tie the game at 1, but the Rangers had only one more hit and got only one more runner past first base against Escobar, who is 4-0 in six starts since the start of June.

"Outside of a couple of pitches, he pitched a terrific ballgame and shut down a lineup that has been scoring a lot of runs," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's an All-Star, no doubt about it."

But Escobar was left off the initial AL roster released Sunday. He had another chance to make the team, but Red Sox reliever Hideki Okajima beat out Escobar and three others in Internet voting that ended Thursday to determine the final player.

Escobar plans to spend the All-Star break in Cancun with his family and said that he won't go to San Francisco now if asked to be a last-minute replacement for some reason.

"I have plans. They call me to go, I'm not going, they will have to find somebody else," he said. "No offense. I made a good case, but I'm not disappointed."

The Angels have three players going to the All-Star Game: right fielder Vladimir Guerrero, who will make his fifth start, closer Francisco Rodriguez and right-hander John Lackey (11-5).

Maicer Izturis had a two-run triple and scored after a double for the Angels. Guerrero extended his season-best hitting streak to nine games with an RBI single in the first.

The Rangers are in last place, 16 games behind Los Angeles, but are 5-0-1 their last six series. They took two of three from Los Angeles after splitting a four-game set last weekend at Boston, which has the best record in the majors.

"If we can just keep winning series, hopefully we'll get to the point where we can run off four or five [wins] in a row," Rangers rookie manager Ron Washington said. "We're very happy with that we've done, but now we've got another series to get ready for."

Robinson Tejeda (5-8) lost for the fifth time in his last six decisions and has a 9.14 ERA in that span. He gave up four runs and six hits over 5 1/3 innings.

Jerry Hairston led off the Texas first with a double, advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Ramon Vazquez before Young's single. Young, the MVP of last year's All-Star Game who will play in his fourth straight Midsummer Classic, has 23 singles over 18 games since his last extra-base hit on June 15.

Vazquez had a two-out triple in the sixth before Young hit a comebacker to the mound.

Garret Anderson had a leadoff single in the fifth and scored the go-ahead run on a single by Jose Molina. Izturis came home on a sacrifice fly by rookie Reggie Willits and then had his triple in the sixth.

After heavy rains earlier Thursday, the game started on time -- the field wasn't uncovered until about 45 minutes before the first pitch. A light rain began to fall in the fifth inning and continued for two innings, but the game was never delayed.

Game notes
All three of Escobar's walks were issued to Marlon Byrd, who has hit in 13 of his last 14 games. He had an RBI single in the ninth. ... The last time Texas had at least six consecutive unbeaten series was in August and September 2001, when they were 6-0-1 over a seven-series stretch. ... It was an unseasonably cool 77 degrees at game time. ... Gary Matthews Jr. had an unusual caught stealing in the sixth. The Angels center fielder took a hard step off second base and slipped in the slick dirt, drawing a throw from catcher Gerald Laird. Matthews took off for third. The throw went to the shortstop, who relayed to third base for a 2-6-5 putout.