ARLINGTON -- The Angels wasted little time jumping on Rangers rookie Ariel Jurado on Thursday night, scoring five runs in the first inning to surge to an early lead. But their contingent of relievers couldn't hold it, allowing the Rangers to score six unanswered runs and rally for an 8-6 win in the series opener at Globe Life Park.
The Angels took a 6-4 lead into the eighth, but the Rangers pulled within one on Joey Gallo's RBI double and went on to load the bases against rookie Justin Anderson. After battling back from a 3-0 count to strike out Ronald Guzman, Anderson whiffed Isiah Kiner-Falefa on three pitches for the second out.
But Anderson again lost his release point against Shin-Soo Choo, who walked to plate the tying run. It was the third walk issued by Anderson, who also hit a batter in his erratic outing.
"You run into those days where you may not be able to just find a way to fight through it," Anderson said. "I thought I was about to get out of that inning, but unfortunately, it's not what happened."
Manager Mike Scioscia brought in Osmer Morales, who was making his MLB debut, to face Rougned Odor, but Odor beat out an infield single to knock in the go-ahead run. The Rangers added an insurance run after Robinson Chirinos scored from third on a wild pitch.
Andrelton Simmons led off the ninth by blooping a double into left field, but Jose Leclerc coaxed a popout from Francisco Arcia and struck out Kaleb Cowart and Eric Young to snap the Angels' three-game winning streak.
With starters Nick Tropeano and Tyler Skaggs on the disabled list, the Angels filled a gap in their rotation with a bullpen game for the second time this week. Right-hander Taylor Cole again received the starting nod, but he gave up three runs and retired only three of the eight batters he faced in one-plus inning.
Jose Alvarez, Williams Jerez, Noe Ramirez, Jim Johnson, Ty Buttrey, Anderson and Morales combined to pitch the final seven innings.
The Angels opened the game with five consecutive singles by Kole Calhoun, David Fletcher, Justin Upton, Shohei Ohtani and Jose Pujols, bringing in a pair of runs and loading the bases with no outs against Jurado. Simmons flied out to left field for the first out, but Arcia followed with a two-run double down the third-base line to extend the Angels' lead to 4-0.
Pujols then scored from third on a groundout from Taylor Ward to cap the big inning. It marked the fourth time this season that the Angels have scored five or more runs in the first inning of a game.
Cole took the mound with a five-run lead in the bottom of the first, but the Rangers immediately began to chip away at the deficit, as Elvis Andrus drew a two-out walk to set up Nomar Mazara's two-run home run to center field.
Calhoun opened the second by crushing his 17th home run of the season, a solo shot off Jurado that pushed the Angels' lead to 6-2. But the Rangers countered in the bottom of the inning with a solo home run from Gallo. They continued to threaten after Cole issued back-to-back walks to Chirinos and Guzman, but Alvarez bailed him out by retiring the next three batters to leave both runners stranded.
Jerez and Ramirez kept the Rangers off the board for the next three innings, but Jurickson Profar led off the sixth with a home run off Johnson, cutting the Angels' lead to 6-4.
Buttrey, who was acquired from the Red Sox as part of the Ian Kinsler trade on July 30, entered the game in the seventh and worked around a one-out double to Choo to post a scoreless inning in his MLB debut.
• Buttrey gets first Major League callup
"It was just an awesome experience," Buttrey said. "I was just nervous coming up to that point and finally getting that road block out of the way, it felt really cool."
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The Angels looked poised to break the game open after loading the bases with no outs in the fourth, but Jurado escaped after the Rangers turned their first triple play since 2009. After fielding a grounder off the bat of Fletcher, Profar stepped on third base for the forceout, tagged Ward, who had been on third, for the second out and then threw to Odor at second to get Calhoun for the forceout.
"That was a real game-changer and momentum-breaker," Scioscia said. "On a day when you use your bullpen, you really want to try to get as many runs as you can. It would have been important. Profar made a great play on it. Fletch hit the ball hard. They got out of the fourth inning with no damage at a time when we were going to pad our lead and hopefully get far enough in front."
According to STATS, it was the first triple play in which the batter was not retired since June 4, 1912, when the Brooklyn Dodgers turned such a play against the Reds.
"Pretty bad luck," Fletcher said.
Buttrey and Morales were the 32nd and 33rd pitchers used by the Angels this season, setting a franchise record. The Angels used 31 pitchers in 2014 and '17.
"I think they're young kids with good arms," Scioscia said. "They go about it a different way. Ty comes in, he's got a nice, firm fastball, change, slider. Osmer does a little bit more finesse. But they went up there and made pitches. Buttrey looked good getting out of the seventh."
Right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne (2-0, 5.31 ERA) is scheduled to be called up from Triple-A Salt Lake and start against the Rangers in his Angels debut on Friday at 5:05 p.m. PT at Globe Life Park. He will face off against Texas right-hander Andrew Hutchison (1-2, 6.07). Acquired from the Marlins on Tuesday, Despaigne will likely be limited to 75-80 pitches in his first MLB start since March 31. The 31-year-old Cuban made 11 appearances for Miami this season before being optioned to Triple-A New Orleans, where he posted a 4.36 ERA over 43 1/3 innings. Despaigne will start in place of Tropeano, who is on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.