Bases-loaded RBIs from Pujols, Cron put away Rangers
ANAHEIM -- C.J. Cron lined a two-run single with two out in the sixth inning that lifted the Angels to a 4-1 victory over the Rangers on Saturday night at Angel Stadium.
Rangers starter Colby Lewis had a two-hit shutout and a 1-0 lead going into the sixth but the Angels loaded the bases on singles by Grant Green and Kole Calhoun and a walk to Mike Trout. Roman Mendez took over but couldn't keep the lead as the Angels scored three runs.
Reliever Vinnie Pestano earned the victory in relief of C.J. Wilson, who allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings. The Angels have won 17 of their last 21 games against the Rangers.
The Rangers were 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, and their inability to get runs home from third base frustrated manager Jeff Banister.
"We have to complete our run-scoring opportunities," Banister said. "This year, first and third with less than two out, I think we are 0-for-7. We have to do a better job in the box of driving in those runs."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Wild on the bases: The run-starved Angels loaded the bases with none out in the sixth inning. They scored three runs, but also had two runners, Calhoun and Erick Aybar, thrown out at the plate for the first and third outs. Albert Pujols got the Angels even with an RBI single and, with two outs, Cron gave them a 3-1 lead with a sharp single to center that just dropped in.
"That's how we play," Cron said. "We're an aggressive ballclub. We like to run the bases. Overall, it's going to work out well more often than not."
As for his key hit, he said: "I knew [when he hit it] it had a chance to hang up a bit. It's nice to get a hit like that, that gives the team a lead like that."
Martin makes throw but not catch: Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin made a terrific throw in the sixth-inning to gun down Calhoun at the plate trying to score from second on a bases-loaded single by Pujols. That kept the Angels to just one run on the play and the score was 1-1. Then, with two outs and the bases loaded, Cron ripped a line drive to center. Martin raced in, went to his knees and got his glove on the ball. But he couldn't hold it. It went for a two-run single, giving the Angels a 3-1 lead.
"I thought I was going to make the catch," Martin said. "It made my glove but that the last moment it was like a knuckleball. It was a low line drive. I tried to do my best."
Beltre's golden play: Beltre's superb defense in the first saved Lewis from early trouble. Calhoun was at first base with one out and running on a full-count pitch to Pujols. Not fooled by a changeup, Pujols ripped a line drive down the third-base line that Beltre snagged sprawling to his right. Beltre had the easy double play and he jogged the ball halfway there before flipping it to Mitch Moreland for the out.
"He has been making those plays for me ever since he got here," Lewis said.
Hanging in there: Angels left-hander Wilson, coming off elbow stiffness that pushed his start back two days, somehow scattered seven hits and three walks over 5 2/3 innings, and left with only a 1-0 deficit. Pestano got Wilson out of a two-out, bases-loaded jam in the sixth by retiring Robinson Chirinos on a grounder to short. More >
"His stuff looked really good and, more important, C.J. felt great, felt normal," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He pitched a really good ballgame. If push came to shove, he could've pitched Thursday. He had no problem at all with the chilly temperatures."
"Grant's been swinging the bat well. … His playing time is contingent on a couple of things -- we have some guys struggling right now, so we want to get him in the lineup, and he can play multiple positions." -- Scioscia on Green, who was recalled Friday from Triple-A Salt Lake, and started Saturday at second base
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The Rangers only run scored on a wild pitch. They were 0-8 with runners in scoring position and are hitting .215 in those situations for the season (28-for-130). That average drops to .166 without Prince Fielder's 9-for-16. The team is 19-for-118 without him.
ANDRUS GETS FORCE ON POPUP
Trout was on first base with one out in the fourth when Pujols worked the count full. Trout was running on the pitch and Pujols hit a serious popup out to shortstop. Trout rounded second and had to race back to first to avoid getting doubled off. But Andrus let the ball drop. That allowed him to force Trout at second base and put the much slower Pujols on first.
Rangers: Nick Martinez pitches for the Rangers against the Angels at 2:30 CT on Sunday in Anaheim. Martinez is 2-0 with a 0.45 ERA that is the lowest in the American League. He beat the Angels on April 14, allowing one run in seven innings.
Angels: Hector Santiago is making his ninth career start against the Rangers. He is 0-2 with an 8.78 ERA in three starts in Anaheim and 4-0 with a 2.15 ERA in five starts against them in Arlington.
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