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Ohtani remains hot, but Angels drop opener

Barria's scoreless stretch comes to end in loss to Rangers
MLB.com @mi_guardado

ANAHEIM -- Jaime Barria's run of success against the Rangers came to an abrupt end Monday night.

The 22-year-old rookie gave up four runs over three innings to match his second-shortest outing of the season in the Angels' 5-2 loss to the Rangers in their series opener at Angel Stadium. The defeat mathematically eliminated the Angels (71-73) from the American League West race with 18 games left in the season.

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ANAHEIM -- Jaime Barria's run of success against the Rangers came to an abrupt end Monday night.

The 22-year-old rookie gave up four runs over three innings to match his second-shortest outing of the season in the Angels' 5-2 loss to the Rangers in their series opener at Angel Stadium. The defeat mathematically eliminated the Angels (71-73) from the American League West race with 18 games left in the season.

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Barria, who went 3-0 with a 0.86 ERA in four previous starts against Texas this season, needed only 10 pitches to breeze through a 1-2-3 first inning, but he was forced to labor in the second. Adrian Beltre and Jurickson Profar led off the inning with back-to-back walks, and Barria then misplaced a 2-2 slider to Joey Gallo, who lined it into the right-field corner for a two-run double.

After coaxing a flyout from Robinson Chirinos, Barria surrendered a two-run home run to Ronald Guzman that put the Angels in a 4-0 hole. The Rangers continued to threaten after Hanser Alberto walked and Shin-Soo Choo singled to put runners on first and second with two outs, but Barria avoided further damage by inducing a groundout from Elvis Andrus to end the 32-pitch inning.

Video: TEX@LAA: Scioscia on Barria's outing, loss to Rangers

"Jaime was just out of sync," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He made some good pitches in the first inning. Uncharacteristic walks showed up for him. This guy usually makes pitches. He was a little out of sync and was really grinding."

Barria, who came into Monday's outing having thrown 11 consecutive scoreless innings, navigated through a scoreless third before he was removed with his pitch count at 60. He allowed three hits while walking four and striking out two. Right-hander Taylor Cole replaced Barria in the fourth and proceeded to retire all 12 batters he faced, but the Rangers added an insurance run in the eighth on Gallo's RBI single off left-hander Williams Jerez.

Video: TEX@LAA: Cole goes 12 up, 12 down out of the bullpen

"Any time Taylor comes in, it seems like he's aggressive in the zone," Scioscia said. "Four innings, very pitch-efficient. He threw a lot of strikes, got some soft contact. He did a great job tonight to keep us in it."

Jose Fernandez and Shohei Ohtani delivered RBI singles to supply both of the Angels' runs. Ohtani, who earned American League Player of the Week honors on Monday, is now batting .448 (13-for-29) with four home runs and 11 RBIs over his career-high eight-game hitting streak. Even more encouraging was the fact that both of Ohtani's hits Monday came against left-handed pitchers, who have held him to a .220 batting average (17-for-77) this season.

Video: TEX@LAA: Fernandez plates Ohtani with single in 4th

"Regardless of the results, whether it's a hit or an out, I do feel comfortable the more times I step up to the plate against lefties," Ohtani said through interpreter Ippei Mizuhara.

Ohtani led off the fourth with a double, stole third and scored on Fernandez's single to center field to put the Angels on the board. Kole Calhoun later drew a walk to load the bases with two outs against Rangers left-hander Mike Minor, but David Fletcher flied out to end the inning.

Video: TEX@LAA: Ohtani legs out double to lead off the frame

In the seventh, the Angels put runners on the corners with two outs after Mike Trout singled and Justin Upton reached on a throwing error by Profar. Rangers manager Jeff Banister summoned Alex Claudio to face Ohtani in a lefty-on-lefty matchup, but Ohtani responded by ripping a 109-mph single to the opposite field to drive in Trout and make it 4-2.

Video: TEX@LAA: Ohtani drives in Trout with a 2-out single

"I think Shohei just needs exposure to them," Scioscia said. "Hopefully, he'll get it now and start to square the ball up like he can. He looked very comfortable in there tonight." 

SOUND SMART
Ohtani is the first player to log nine steals and 10 pitching appearances in a single season since George Sisler for the 1915 St. Louis Browns.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Beltre opened the third by sending a drive to deep center field, but Trout raced back toward the warning track and made an impressive running catch before slamming into the wall. His effort earned him a tip of the cap from Barria and a thumbs up from Calhoun. Trout robbed Beltre again in the eighth, making a sliding catch to snag a sinking liner in shallow center field.

Video: TEX@LAA: Trout steals two hits from Beltre in center

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
After reaching on a leadoff double in the fourth, Ohtani attempted to steal third, but was originally called out by third-base umpire Nic Lentz. The Angels challenged the call after replay showed that Ohtani's foot touched the bag ahead of Profar's tag, and the ruling was eventually overturned. Ohtani, who was credited with his ninth steal of the season, subsequently scored on Fernandez's RBI single.

Video: TEX@LAA: Ohtani steals third base on overturned call

"He did not get a great jump tonight, but you can see how fast he is," Scioscia said. "He made up for it."

UP NEXT
Veteran right-hander Jim Johnson (5-3, 3.81 ERA) will start a bullpen game for the Angels as they continue their three-game series with the Rangers at 7:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Texas will counter with right-hander Adrian Sampson (0-0, 54.00). Johnson's only previous start in the Majors came in his MLB debut with the Orioles on July 29, 2006.

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

Los Angeles Angels