Series: Game 1 of 3

Texas leads 1-0 (as of 8/7)

Game 1: Friday, August 7
LA Angels6
Game 2: Saturday, August 8
LA Angels3
Game 3: Sunday, August 9
LA Angels0

Rangers 11

(61-47, 24-26 away)

Angels 6

(64-43, 32-21 home)

    10:05 PM ET, August 7, 2009

    Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, California 

    123456789 R H E
    TEX 411030011 11 15 1
    LAA 100000401 6 12 1

    W: S. Feldman (11-4)

    L: J. Saunders (9-7)

    Vizquel leads Rangers' rout of AL-West leading Angels

    Associated Press

    ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Omar Vizquel still remembered all of the steps in a home run trot, even though it's been more than 22 months since he last made the circuit around the bases.

    The veteran infielder only had to follow the well-worn path of his slugging teammates during the Texas Rangers' latest big win in their AL West rival's ballpark.

    Fast Facts

    • The Rangers improved to 8-2 against the Angels this season, outscoring them 69-49.

    • Omar Vizquel hit his first home run since September 2007 and tallied his second career game with four hits and a home run.

    • Five different Rangers homered in the team's fourth five-homer game of the season.

    • Josh Hamilton hit one home run, snapping an 18-game homerless drought.

    • The Angels are 1-3 in their last four games after starting 14-3 after the All-Star Break.

    -- ESPN Stats & Information

    Vizquel drove in three runs with four hits, including one of Texas' five homers, and Josh Hamilton hit an early three-run shot in the second-place Rangers' 11-6 victory over the division-leading Los Angeles Angels on Friday night.

    Hank Blalock, Michael Young and Taylor Teagarden also connected for the Rangers, who trimmed the Angels' division lead to 3 1/2 games by chasing starter Joe Saunders in the second inning and battering three relievers for 15 hits.

    The Rangers did it with Texas-sized power, increasing their major league-leading total to 168 homers. They connected three times in the fifth inning, when Vizquel's fly ball found the short right-field porch for the 42-year-old infielder's first homer since Sept. 30, 2007.

    "I was happy I got a home run," said Vizquel, who had his first four-hit game since April 16, 2007. "I didn't want to leave without hitting one this year. It's always nice to hit one, to know that you can still hit one out of the ballpark."

    Scott Feldman (11-4) recovered from a shaky first inning to pitch six strong innings for the Rangers, who lost the AL West lead to Los Angeles four weeks ago. But Texas has won eight of 10 meetings with the Angels this season, a success that could prove decisive with two more series between them after this weekend.

    "It's nice to have a lot of runs on the board early," said Feldman, who won for the sixth time in eight starts. "It made it real easy to get a lot of rest between innings. We've been swinging the bats pretty good the last couple of games, and hopefully we can keep playing well. Hopefully we can win this series and get some momentum."

    Maicer Izturis hit a three-run homer and tied his career high with four RBIs for the Angels, who trailed 9-1 by the fifth inning of a rocky homestand opener. Los Angeles, which has lost three of four for the first time in five weeks, put Saunders on the disabled list after the game with tightness in his shoulder.

    Vizquel's leadoff single portended trouble for Saunders (9-7), the inconsistent left-hander who hasn't allowed fewer than four runs in a start since June. He gave up five hits and five runs in his shortest start of the season, and the Angels shut him down afterward, recalling right-hander Jose Arredondo from Triple-A Salt Lake.

    "We're just at a stage where this thing needs to calm down for him to be effective," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "I think it's fairly obvious now he's a long way away from where he needs to be."

    Vizquel drove in a run in the second before Saunders left, and the veteran added another RBI single in the fourth. Reliever Justin Speier gave up three solo homers in four at-bats in the fifth, including back-to-back shots by Vizquel and Young, who has a 14-game hitting streak.

    "We hit the ball hard, and that wakes up the team a little bit," Vizquel said. "We raised the level of our game against these guys."

    Before his homer, Hamilton had just one extra-base hit in his last 15 games during an 11-for-64 slump. His long shot to right-center was his second homer since returning from the disabled list July 6.

    "He's starting to look better as far as timing goes," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "He's starting to take some walks, which he needs to do, and he's starting to find the fat part of his bat."

    Los Angeles didn't rally until the seventh, when Izturis hit his sixth homer off reliever Jason Jennings before Neftali Feliz got Kendry Morales to pop up with the bases loaded.

    "They're a strong club," Scioscia said. "We're going to have to play well to get through our division, and this is a bump in the road. We have to focus on how we're playing the game, not who or where."

    Game notes

    Bullpen coach Orlando Mercado coached first base for the Rangers while Alfredo Griffin attended a celebration of the Toronto Blue Jays' championship teams. ... For all his struggles, Saunders has failed to pitch at least five innings only twice this season -- both times against Texas. ... The Rangers' two sets of back-to-back homers were their seventh and eighth of the season.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Game Information

    StadiumAngel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, CA
    Attendance43,624 (95.9% full) - % is based on regular season capacity
    Game Time3:30
    Weather75 degrees, clear
    Wind7 mph
    UmpiresHome Plate - Bill Hohn, First Base - Paul Emmel, Second Base - Gary Darling, Third Base - Todd Tichenor