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Angels' Barria beats Rangers in MLB debut

MLB.com @mi_guardado

ARLINGTON -- The Angels' ailing rotation received a welcome boost on Wednesday night from pitching prospect Jaime Barria, who delivered five strong innings to earn a win in his Major League debut and help his club complete a three-game sweep of the Rangers with a 7-2 victory at Globe Life Park.

Barria, a 21-year-old right-hander, yielded only a solo home run to Ryan Rua while walking three and striking out three, becoming the first Angels starter to pick up a win in his Major League debut since Sean O'Sullivan in 2009. Two-way star Shohei Ohtani, of course, won in his mound debut April 1 vs. the A's.

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ARLINGTON -- The Angels' ailing rotation received a welcome boost on Wednesday night from pitching prospect Jaime Barria, who delivered five strong innings to earn a win in his Major League debut and help his club complete a three-game sweep of the Rangers with a 7-2 victory at Globe Life Park.

Barria, a 21-year-old right-hander, yielded only a solo home run to Ryan Rua while walking three and striking out three, becoming the first Angels starter to pick up a win in his Major League debut since Sean O'Sullivan in 2009. Two-way star Shohei Ohtani, of course, won in his mound debut April 1 vs. the A's.

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Barria, who was pitching on three days' rest since his last outing for Triple-A Salt Lake was rained out after two innings, departed after throwing 71 pitches.

"Jaime pitched well," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He got a little bit tired. He hasn't gone that long in a while. But he gave us five strong innings, worked his way out of some trouble, showed all of his pitches and looked good. We thought he was part of our depth and he showed it tonight."

With the win, the Angels improved to 10-3 on the season, tying the Mets for the most victories in the Majors. They are in sole possession of first place in the American League West following the Astros' 9-8 loss to the Twins on Wednesday.

The Rangers fell to 4-10 and will lose Elvis Andrus to the disabled list after the shortstop sustained a fractured right elbow on a 96.9 mph fastball in the ninth inning thrown by reliever Keynan Middleton. Andrus was fitted with a splint and will undergo more tests and a CT scan on Thursday. Those will determine the severity of the injury and if surgery will be needed.

Kole Calhoun finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs, while Jefry Marte added two hits, including his first career triple. The Angels' sizzling offense outscored the Rangers 26-6 over this series.

Video: LAA@TEX: Marte extends Angels' lead with RBI triple

Barria, ranked the Angels' No. 7 prospect by MLB Pipeline, was tested in the first inning after he issued a pair of walks, but he escaped the jam unscathed and then settled in, stymying Texas' lineup with his effective fastball/changeup combination.

Barria pitched in place of Matt Shoemaker, who is on the disabled list with a right forearm strain and will be shut down for at least a few more weeks as the Angels work to confirm a diagnosis. The Angels have already lost JC Ramirez to a torn ulnar collateral ligament, which is expected to require season-ending Tommy John surgery, forcing them to turn to Barria earlier than expected.

Barria's initial stint with the Angels was short-lived, as he was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake after the game to clear a roster spot for Nick Tropeano, who will start Thursday's series opener against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Barria said he understood the reason behind the move.

Video: LAA@TEX: Barria records first career strikeout in 2nd

"It's part of the process," Barria said in Spanish. "I knew that no matter what I did today, I was going back to Triple-A. I just have to keep working hard and show them that I belong here."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Ohtani delivers vs. lefty:
Ohtani, getting the start at designated hitter with the left-hander on the mound, delivered his first hit against a lefty. With runners on first and second and two outs, Ohtani grounded a single into left field off Matt Moore to drive home the Angels' first run. Ohtani was 0-for-4 against left-handers coming into the game. Rene Rivera followed with another RBI single to extend the Angels' lead to 2-0. Ohtani finished 1-for-3 with a walk in his fifth start as the Angels' DH.  More >

Video: LAA@TEX: Ohtani drives in first run with single 

Upton catch stops threat: The Rangers, trailing 5-1, had a threat going in the eighth when Nomar Mazara came to the plate with two on and one out against Middleton. Mazara hit a sinking flare to left field and Justin Upton raced in to make a sliding catch just off the ground. Middleton then struck out Joey Gallo with a 99-mph fastball to end the threat. Middleton, who has emerged as Scioscia's preferred closing option, also pitched the ninth to earn a five-out save.

Video: LAA@TEX: Upton makes sliding catch to rob Mazara

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Barria joins Hall of Famer Rod Carew as the only players in Angels history who were born in Panama.

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Rangers reliever Chris Martin didn't get to pitch to Ohtani, his teammate the past two years in Japan. So he did the next best thing. He picked him off. Twice. Ohtani walked to lead off the eighth against left-hander Jake Diekman before Martin came in to pitch. With one out and Zack Cozart at the plate, Martin picked off Ohtani at first. The Angels challenged the call and it was overturned after the replay review. Ohtani stayed at first and Cozart went back to hitting. Only Martin fired over to first base and again picked off Ohtani. This time the Angels did not challenge the call.

Video: LAA@TEX: Ohtani is safe at first after review

"It wasn't like really a funny moment or anything," Ohtani said. "He was my teammate, but I was just trying to be aggressive and get to the next base. He was doing his best to try to get me out. I think it was just a natural thing. But I've never seen him pick off that fast with the Fighters, so that surprised me. It's something that I know for next time I face him."

Video: LAA@TEX: Martin picks off Ohtani following walk

QUOTABLE
"I guess he forgot he had that move." -- Scioscia, on Ohtani getting picked off by Martin

"Before the game, I did feel nervous when I was sitting here, but my Latino teammates gave me confidence and told me that it was the same game, just in front of a little bit more people. I carried their advice with me, and when I went to pitch, I wasn't nervous anymore." -- Barria, on his emotions leading up to his MLB debut

WHAT'S NEXT
The Angels will head to Kansas City to kick off a four-game series against the Royals on Thursday at 5:15 p.m. PT at Kauffman Stadium. Right-hander Tropeano will oppose Royals righty Ian Kennedy in the series opener and make his season debut for the Angels. Tropeano did not pitch last year after undergoing Tommy John surgery in August 2016. Before the injury, Tropeano logged a 3.56 ERA over 68 1/3 innings for the Angels in 2016. Second baseman Ian Kinsler is expected to be activated off the disabled list on Thursday after missing 11 games with a left adductor strain. The Angels went 1-6 against the Royals in 2017.

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Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Jaime Barria, Shohei Ohtani