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Angels thump Texas behind Maldonado, Pujols

MLB.com @mi_guardado

ARLINGTON -- Shohei Ohtani wasn't on the mound or in the lineup on Monday night, but the Angels still managed to make a bit of history, securing their first 8-3 start since 1987 with an 8-3 win over the Rangers in their series opener at Globe Life Park.

The Angels, who have won five of their past six games, banged out 13 hits against Texas' pitching staff and lead the Majors with 68 runs and 18 home runs this year. Andrelton Simmons went 2-for-5 and scored three of the Angels' eight runs, while Martin Maldonado finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

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ARLINGTON -- Shohei Ohtani wasn't on the mound or in the lineup on Monday night, but the Angels still managed to make a bit of history, securing their first 8-3 start since 1987 with an 8-3 win over the Rangers in their series opener at Globe Life Park.

The Angels, who have won five of their past six games, banged out 13 hits against Texas' pitching staff and lead the Majors with 68 runs and 18 home runs this year. Andrelton Simmons went 2-for-5 and scored three of the Angels' eight runs, while Martin Maldonado finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs.

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"We're getting contributions from a lot of spots in our lineup," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Some guys aren't locked in like we hope they will be, but we're doing a good job pressuring other teams with some really clutch hitting."

Video: LAA@TEX: Maldonado discusses performance, Richards

Albert Pujols launched his second home run of the season, a solo shot to left field off Rangers right-hander Doug Fister that extended the Angels' lead to 2-0 in the fourth. The 38-year-old slugger added a single in the ninth to collect his 2,981st career hit, leaving him only 19 shy of 3,000.

"He's working hard," Scioscia said. "He's worked hard with [hitting coaches Eric Hinske and Paul Sorrento] on just making some adjustments, and he's getting comfortable in the box. That's fun to watch when he starts swinging."

Video: LAA@TEX: Pujols hits frozen rope homer to extend lead

The Angels' balanced offense was enough to overcome an uneven start from Garrett Richards, who gave up one run but walked five over 4 2/3 innings. Command has been an issue for Richards this season, as the 29-year-old right-hander has issued 12 walks over 15 innings.

"It's rhythm, tempo and timing," Richards said. "I'm just a hair off right now. But like I said, I'm healthy right now. The ball is coming out as good as it ever has. Everything is sharp, I just need to do a better job of filling up the zone. Luckily our team is great on the offensive side, so a win is always a positive."

Video: LAA@TEX: Scioscia on Alvarez's performance

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Maldonado avoids tag: Scioscia got a reversal on a call in the sixth when Maldonado was called out at home plate, trying to score from first on Chris Young's double to left. The replay showed Maldonado deftly avoiding catcher Robinson Chirinos' tag as he slid into home and the call was reversed, giving the Angels a 5-1 lead. It wasn't exactly majestic, but it got the job done.

"I didn't know whether I wanted to slide headfirst or feet-first," Maldonado said. "I didn't know which one I was going to do, but it worked out."

Throw beats Maldonado but not his swim move

Said Scioscia: "I wouldn't have believed it, but Martin did everything he could to avoid a tag and he got his hand in there."

Alvarez rescues Richards: Richards ran into trouble in the fifth when he walked three of the first four batters, leaving the bases loaded and one out. The Rangers had left-handed sluggers Nomar Mazara and Joey Gallo coming up, so Scioscia brought in Jose Alvarez. The Angels' left-handed reliever got Mazara on a pop to short and Gallo on a fly to center to end the threat.

Video: LAA@TEX: Alvarez retires Gallo to end the threat

Alvarez said he was simply trying to "make pitches [and] try to stay away from the cookie spot."

Richards was more emphatic in his praise.

"I wanted to give him a huge hug afterwards," Richards said. "It was huge."

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
The Angels, leading 2-0, had the bases loaded with one out in the fourth when Ryan Schimpf hit a slow chopper to third baseman Adrian Beltre. His throw to first pulled Gallo off the bag and he had to go for the tag on Schimpf. First-base umpire Todd Tichenor ruled Schimpf safe, but the Rangers challenged and got the call reversed. A run still scored to give the Angels a 3-0 lead.

Video: LAA@TEX: Schimpf safe at first, Rangers challenge

WHAT'S NEXT
Angels left-hander Tyler Skaggs will make his third start of the season on Tuesday as the three-game series continues against the Rangers at 5:05 p.m. PT at Globe Life Park. Skaggs needed 103 pitches to get through 4 2/3 innings in his last outing against the Indians on Wednesday, allowing two runs on five hits while walking two and striking out five. The Rangers send out lefty Martin Perez, who is 4-4 with a 3.27 ERA in 11 career starts and one relief appearance against the Angels. Perez has held Mike Trout to six hits in 27 at-bats. That's a .222 batting average that is Trout's third lowest against a left-hander with a minimum of 20 plate appearances.

 

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

Martin Maldonado, Albert Pujols