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Young, Matthews batter depleted Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- The Texas Rangers are making believers of
their rivals in the AL West.

Michael Young hit a leadoff homer, Gary Matthews Jr. added a
three-run shot and Ryan Drese earned his first road win of the
season, leading Texas to a 6-1 victory over the Anaheim Angels on
Monday night in the opener of a three-game series.

"I think everyone spelled it out about what would happen if
that team got pitching," Anaheim manager Mike Scioscia said. "Now
you're seeing a team that's getting the pitching, and you're seeing
the results. I think it's even surprising some of the guys in that
organization. So they're going to be there for the long run."

The AL West-leading Rangers, bouncing back from consecutive
losses against second-place Oakland, improved to 7-3 this season
against the third-place Angels and put Anaheim five games off the
pace. The Athletics remained 2½ games back after beating Seattle.

Drese (7-5) outpitched Kelvim Escobar for the second time in six
days, allowing a run and 10 hits over 6 2-3 innings against a
starting lineup missing ailing sluggers Vladimir Guerrero and
Garret Anderson.

The Texas right-hander, who has given up no more than two earned
runs in eight of his last 11 starts, struck out two, walked none
and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the second to win his third
straight start.

"Ryan threw a lot of groundballs and kept it in the ballpark.
That's what he's been doing for us most of the year," Rangers
manager Buck Showalter said. "Anytime you're fortunate enough to
catch them without Garret and Vladimir in the lineup, you hope you
can take advantage of it. It won't happen much, so we were lucky."

Anderson, limited to one at-bat in the previous three games
because of a groin strain, pinch-hit in the eighth against Frank
Francisco with runners at first and second and looked at a third
strike on the inside corner.

"I don't have a problem swinging a bat, it's just running
that's the problem," Anderson said. "So if I can't run, I can't
play the whole game. I just took a chance right there, trying to
get a hit."

Escobar (5-8) lost for the sixth time in seven decisions,
equaling a season worst with six earned runs allowed. The
right-hander gave up eight hits over 7 1-3 innings, struck out
eight and walked three. It was only the third time in his last 17
starts that Escobar yielded more than three earned runs.

"Three pitches hurt him," pitching coach Bud Black said.
"Usually a home run leading off the game doesn't beat you. The
other two, obviously he would like to have back, but you can't
second-guess the selection. Granted, he gave up six runs -- but for
me, he pitched a lot better than his line would indicate."

Young drove a fastball into the left-field bullpen on Escobar's
second pitch for his eighth career leadoff homer and 14th home run
this season. The Rangers increased the margin to 3-0 in the fourth
on Matthews' double, a walk and a two-run double by Laynce Nix that
ended his 2-for-21 slump.

Matthews jammed his wrist sliding into second on his double. But
it didn't affect him in the fifth, when he drove a 2-2 slider into
the first row of seats above the 18-foot wall in right field for a
6-0 lead.

Matthews' eighth homer came after a two-out double by Mark
Teixeira and a walk to David Dellucci. The Rangers lead the majors
with 150 home runs, one more than the Yankees.

"The clubhouse atmosphere is really loose," said reliever Jeff
Nelson, who got two outs after coming off the 60-day disabled list.
"We've got a good mix in here, and that just carries over when you
go out between the lines because you know that everybody's pulling
for each other."

Jose Guillen drove in Anaheim's run with a fifth-inning single.
Guillen started in right field instead of left because of
Guerrero's bruised right wrist.

Game notes
The Angels reached the 2 million mark in home attendance in
a club-record 48 home dates, after drawing 3 million last season
for the first time in franchise history. ... Drese began this
season in the minors. ... Young's previous homer on July 8 also was
a leadoff shot in the first inning, sparking a 10-0 rout at
Cleveland. ... Twelve of Teixeira's last 16 hits have gone for
extra bases. ... Alfonso Soriano's first-inning single ended an
0-for-15 drought. ... Kenny Rogers' start against the Angels on
Wednesday night will come on the 10th anniversary of his perfect
game against them.