ANAHEIM -- Jose Pujols crushed his 610th career home run to become the all-time leader among foreign-born players as the Angels raced past the Rangers, 10-1, to even the four-game series between the American League West rivals on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium.Pujols launched a three-run homer off Texas right-hander
ANAHEIM -- Jose Pujols crushed his 610th career home run to become the all-time leader among foreign-born players as the Angels raced past the Rangers, 10-1, to even the four-game series between the American League West rivals on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium.
Pujols launched a three-run homer off Texas right-hander Nick Gardewine, who was making his Major League debut, in the seventh inning to pass fellow Dominican Sammy Sosa and take sole possession of eighth place on the all-time list. The milestone blast capped a big night at the plate for the Angels, who remain a half-game behind the Twins for the second AL Wild Card spot.
"It's pretty special," Pujols said. "To be able to accomplish something like this is very humbling."
The Angels banged out a season-high 16 hits, with every starter except for Andrelton Simmons collecting at least one. Kaleb Cowart homered and drove in three runs, while Kole Calhoun finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs.
"We were taking good swings," Pujols said. "It seemed like every inning we got guys on base. We've been getting great at-bats. We're getting better breaks, hitting some balls hard and now they're falling."
The Rangers scored their lone run of the night in the fifth via a sacrifice fly from Elvis Andrus.
Neither club got much length from its starting pitcher, as Ricky Nolasco and Tyson Ross both labored through their outings and were unable to make it past the fifth inning. Nolasco needed 101 pitches to get through 4 2/3 innings, surrendering one run on five hits while walking three and striking out six. Ross gave up three runs on seven hits with four walks and four strikeouts over 3 2/3 innings in a 98-pitch effort.
"Very challenging to find a rhythm," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "They were able to find some rhythm there at the plate but we were a bit challenged. We were [0-for-6] with runners in scoring position. We managed some baserunners but it's kind of been that nemesis of ours -- when offense gets tough for us we're incapable of getting a big hit."
The loss dropped the Rangers three games behind the Twins for the final AL playoff spot.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Calhoun knocks in two: Ross weaved in and out of trouble all night, and the Angels finally chased him in the fourth inning after Calhoun doubled into the gap in right-center field to bring in a pair of runs and stake the Angels a 3-0 lead.
Cowart pads the lead: Cowart entered Tuesday with only three hits in his last 32 at-bats, but he showed signs of breaking out of his extended slump with two hits against the Rangers. After singling in the fourth, Cowart launched a three-run homer off Austin Bibens-Dirkx to right field in the fifth, pushing the Angels' advantage to 6-1.
"I hit some balls hard in Seattle and unfortunately they didn't fall for hits," Cowart said. "I had a couple rough games on the road, but it's the same thing. Just getting better pitches to hit, swinging at the right ones and doing damage with them when I get them."
"One of the more memorable parts of the night is Nick Gardewine became a big leaguer tonight. He came in, got a bit unlucky, we were not able to make a play behind him. But I thought he threw the ball well, better than the numbers show." -- Banister, on reliever Gardewine's Major League debut
Ben Revere started in left field for the Angels, but he exited after fouling a ball off his left knee during his at-bat in the fourth inning. Revere initially remained in the game, but Cameron Maybin pinch-hit for him in the fifth and then replaced him in left to start the sixth. Manager Mike Scioscia said Revere sustained a knee contusion and is day to day.
Rangers: Texas will turn to right-hander Andrew Cashner at 9:07 p.m. CT on Wednesday at Angel Stadium. Cashner is 4-2 with a 2.38 ERA over his last seven starts, logging quality starts in six of the outings..
Angels: The Angels will send left-hander Andrew Heaney to the mound on Wednesday night as they continue their four-game set with the Rangers at 7:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Heaney, in his second outing since returning from Tommy John surgery, will make his first home start since April 5, 2016.
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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.
Ryan Posner is a contributor to MLB.com based in Los Angeles. He covered the Rangers on Tuesday.