ANAHEIM -- Angels first baseman Jefry Marte got the green light and didn't miss, as his three-run, first-inning home run powered the Angels' offense to a 7-4 win and series sweep over the Rangers on Wednesday night.
Marte's blast sparked a four-run first inning as the Angels scored in each of the first four innings against Rangers left-hander Martin Pérez. Perez, who owned a 5.49 road ERA entering Wednesday's start, got knocked around for seven runs in six-plus innings.
"We're getting contributions from a lot of guys," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Our lineup is getting deeper. You see Jefry Marte get a big hit for us. I think our baserunning has been better, our situational hitting has been really good and our on-base percentage for the last month has been terrific."
Texas threatened often against Angels left-hander Héctor Santiago, biting him for a couple of runs in the third inning on an RBI triple from Adrián Beltré and a Ryan Rua sacrifice fly. In the fourth, first baseman Mitch Moreland hit a Statcast-projected 419-foot homer to center field to cut the deficit to three runs. Santiago struggled, but still managed to get through five innings of three-run ball and pick up the win as JC Ramírez, Joe Smith, José Álvarez and Huston Street held the lead out of the bullpen.
The Angels remain undefeated since the All-Star break after completing a 6-0 homestand, and the club has won 10 of its last 12 games. The Rangers have lost 12 of their last 15 and they now lead the American League West by 3 1/2 games over the Astros.
"I don't want to put a silver lining on this, we've got to get this turned around," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "But I'm still seeing positive signs. We've got a day off tomorrow, guys regroup, go into Kansas City and we need to come out and play well."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Marte mashes: Marte, who returned to the lineup and played first base for the first time in five games, showed little rust with his three-run home run. Marte took a 3-0 fastball from Perez and smoked it over the wall in left-center, driving it a Statcast-projected 455 feet with an exit velocity of 110 mph. It was the second-longest home run the Angels have hit this season, and the longest the team has hit at home.
"With guys in scoring position, there no doubt that when guys get a good pitch to hit you want to be aggressive," Scioscia said. "Jefry doesn't expand too much, especially against left-handed pitchers, so we were fairly confident that if it was a ball he was going to take the walk and if it was there he was going to put a good swing on it." More >
Rangers miss counter blow: Santiago walked three in the second inning as the Rangers loaded the bases with two outs. Jurickson Profar then hit a drive to deep left but Todd Cunningham ran it down on the warning track for the third out.
"We hit some balls hard," Banister said. "Profar swung the bat as good as anybody tonight and had nothing to show for it."
Santiago no longer streaking: Beltre's third-inning RBI triple snapped Santiago's streak of 24 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run. He was one of just three starters in Angels history to do so in three consecutive starts leading into Wednesday, and he tied Frank Tanana and Mark Langston for the longest streaks for the team since 1974.
"I think Hector tried to force a couple things tonight," Scioscia said. "He struggled with fastball command all night, and instead of trying to pitch his way out by using his changeup or changing speeds he kept trying to throw harder. Consequently, he lost his release point."
Two-out balk costs Perez: Among Perez's troubles was a two-out balk in the third that allowed Albert Pujols to score. The Angels had runners at second and third with two outs at the time when Perez was caught making a brief, but illegal flinch from the set position.
"I was trying to shake off [the catcher] and I moved my shoulders," Perez said.
"I see intensity. There is no panic. This a group of guys still grinding it out and still confident." -- Banister
"If we win 25 more straight, we'll be in good shape." -- Santiago, on the Angels' strong stretch and trying to get back into the race
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Rangers allowed 24 runs in three games in getting swept by the Angels. Nine of those runs reached base on seven walks, one hit batter and one error.
The Angels completed just their second perfect homestand of six or more games since 2004 with Wednesday's win. They previously accomplished the feat in 2014, sweeping consecutive series against the Rangers and the Twins.
Rangers: The Rangers open a three-game series against the Royals at 7:15 p.m. CT on Friday night at Kauffman Stadium. Right-hander Yu Darvish will be on the mound for the Rangers in the first regular-season meeting between two Spring Training partners in Surprise, Ariz. This will be Darvish's second start since coming off the disabled list.
Angels: The Angels have an off-day Thursday before traveling to Houston to start a three-game series against the Astros on Friday. Right-hander Matt Shoemaker (5-9, 4.08 ERA), the defending American League Player of the Week, will look to build off his first career shutout where he posted a career-high 13 strikeouts. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 p.m. PT.
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