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Down four early, Angels storm past Rangers

July 18, 2016

ANAHEIM -- Trailing by four in the second inning, the Angels and their surging offense stormed all the way back against the first-place Rangers, taking the lead twice and using a booming home run from Mike Trout to run away with a 9-5 victory at Angel Stadium on Monday night,

ANAHEIM -- Trailing by four in the second inning, the Angels and their surging offense stormed all the way back against the first-place Rangers, taking the lead twice and using a booming home run from Mike Trout to run away with a 9-5 victory at Angel Stadium on Monday night, their fourth in a row.
The Angels -- winners of eight of 10 after a 2-12 stretch -- entered the game with the Major League lead in runs scored this month, then chipped away at the Rangers. Their nine wins this month surpasses their total for all of June -- in 13 fewer games.
"We're putting everything together," Trout said. "Pitching, defense, and obviously we're getting big hits in big situations."

Angels' offense clicking since calendar hit July
Rougned Odor, Adrián Beltré and Mitch Moreland all went deep off Nick Tropeano, who exited after two innings with soreness in his right elbow. But Albert Pujols drew a bases-loaded walk, Daniel Nava hit a sacrifice fly, Ji-Man Choi went deep and the Angels took their first lead in the sixth, on a booted grounder from Odor and an RBI single from Johnny Giavotella off Rangers starter A.J. Griffin, who gave up five runs in five-plus innings.
Griffin sharp early, then quickly unravels
The Angels then ran away with it in the seventh, a half-inning after Fernando Salas gave up the lead on a double from Bobby Wilson.
Jett Bandy led off with a walk and Andrelton Simmons followed with a double off Keone Kela. Two batters later, Odor made a diving stop of Kole Calhoun's hard grounder, but his throw to the plate squirted away from Wilson, allowing the go-ahead run to score. And on the very next pitch, Trout hit a line drive into the Angels' bullpen, good for a three-run homer that gave him a team-leading 19 and sealed the Rangers' 10th loss in 13 games.

"We've got to play cleaner," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "We've got to play better. We talked about it coming out of the break -- it's about playing good baseball."
Ji-Man: Choi helped spark the Angels' comeback with his first career home run in the fifth, a leadoff shot to right field. Choi, a Rule 5 Draft pick, went only 1-for-18 in his previous stint with the Angels. But he batted .327/.411/.485 upon going down to Triple-A and has reached base in all six of his games since returning to the Majors to fill in for an injured C.J. Cron. Choi handed out phantom high-fives upon returning to the dugout.

"I knew [they wouldn't give me high-fives], but I just pretended like they did," Choi said through an interpreter. "It was funny."

Odor, Beltre go deep: Odor and Beltre gave the Rangers a 3-0 lead in the first inning with back-to-back home runs off Tropeano. It's the fourth time the Rangers have hit back-to-back home runs and first since May 17. It was Beltre's first home run since June 29. He had just one extra-base hit -- a double -- in his past 14 games going into Monday night.

Moreland hits 100th: Moreland hit his 100th career home run in the second off Tropeano. Moreland is the 20th Rangers players since 1972 to hit 100 home runs in his career. It was also his first since June 19. He had just just two extra-base hits in his past 17 games.

"It's pretty cool," Moreland said. "I've been fortunate enough to play long enough to do that. It's not a huge milestone, it's probably a long list, but it's definitely something I'll remember."
When Jhoulys expect it: The Angels were in a bind when Tropeano exited after only two innings, but Jhoulys Chacín, sent to the bullpen to make room for Tropeano in the rotation two weeks earlier, pitched four scoreless innings, allowing just three baserunners and giving the Angels a chance to come back. Chacin could return to the rotation if Tropeano misses time.

"Jhoulys hasn't been out there that long in a while," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He got a little tired, but there's no doubt that he had a good slider going and really got his fastball into some good spots and got it by some pretty good hitters. He beat them with some good pitches."

"If you look at the standings, man, we have a lot of ground to cover. You can think like that, but it's not going to do you any good. We have to think day by day, just like we're doing. And go out and play good baseball. Since the All-Star break, we're playing great. It's kind of how we wanted to draw it up all season." -- Calhoun, on the Angels still being 11 games below .500 and 13 1/2 games out of first place
"Absolutely disappointing to get off to a 4-0 lead and let it get away from us." -- Banister
Trout's game-breaking home run came on the first pitch. He's 13-for-21 with three homers when putting the first pitch in play this season.
Tropeano will receive an MRI on Tuesday, with the Angels hopeful that he does not have a torn ulnar collateral ligament that will require Tommy John surgery. The Angels' top two starters, Garrett Richards and Andrew Heaney, have already suffered torn UCLs. Tyler Skaggs is 23 months into his own recovery from Tommy John surgery.

"I felt it during warmups, just soreness throughout," Tropeano said. "It wasn't one pitch or anything like that, which gets my mindset a little more positive." More >
Rangers: Right-hander Kyle Lohse pitches for the Rangers at 9:05 p.m. CT on Tuesday against the Angels in Anaheim. Lohse will be making his second start and said he is over the mild oblique strain that affected him in his last start against the Twins on July 9.
Angels:Tim Lincecum (1-3, 6.85 ERA) takes the ball Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. PT in what seems like an important start for the veteran right-hander, who's lined up on the same day as Skaggs in Triple-A. Lincecum pitched better at Camden Yards on July 10, giving up three runs despite 11 baserunners in 5 2/3 innings.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Alden Gonzalez has covered the Angels for since 2012. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.