Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Lucroy, Gomez keep Texas rolling toward title

MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- Rangers president of baseball operations and general manager Jon Daniels had to be especially pleased with his club's 8-5 seesaw win over the Angels on Saturday night.

Three of Daniels' big-name acquisitions the last two years -- Jonathan Lucroy, Cole Hamels and Carlos Gomez -- played major roles in a victory which moved the first-place Rangers one step closer to the postseason.

View Full Game Coverage

ANAHEIM -- Rangers president of baseball operations and general manager Jon Daniels had to be especially pleased with his club's 8-5 seesaw win over the Angels on Saturday night.

Three of Daniels' big-name acquisitions the last two years -- Jonathan Lucroy, Cole Hamels and Carlos Gomez -- played major roles in a victory which moved the first-place Rangers one step closer to the postseason.

View Full Game Coverage

With the victory, the Rangers reduced their magic number to win the American League West over the Astros to 11 games. Texas is now two games ahead of the Indians for the best record in the AL, which would provides home-field advantage throughout the postseason. The Rangers will go for a three-game sweep of the Angels on Sunday behind Colby Lewis, who will come off the disabled list for his first start since June 21.

"It was enough tonight. I wouldn't say it was a perfect ballgame but it was enough to win," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "We had some big hits that started from the very first swing of the night -- Gomez, with the home run. We continued to kind of grind away at the night."

Lucroy smacked a go-ahead, two-run homer off Jose Valdez with one out in the eighth inning after the Angels had rallied to take their first lead of the game in the bottom of the seventh. The All-Star catcher was picked up from the Brewers at this year's Trade Deadline.

Video: TEX@LAA: Lucroy discusses go-ahead homer, Gomez

Hamels, added in a Trade Deadline blockbuster with the Phillies last season, rebounded from a five-out outing to give the Rangers a quality start.

"I felt like Cole threw the ball effectively wild in some instances," Banister said. "I think he threw enough quality strikes to kind of keep these hitters off-balance. He was fighting himself a little with the four walks but he threw enough quality pitches tonight to grind through it and none bigger than the last inning."

Video: TEX@LAA: Hamels whiffs Bandy in the 6th

Gomez, signed to a Minor League deal three weeks ago after being released from the Astros, ripped a pair of first-pitch home runs, including the first pitch of the game.

Daniel Wright gave the Angels five innings, becoming the 15th pitcher to start for them this season, the most in the AL. Acquired off waivers from the Reds last weekend, Wright was charged with four runs on six hits with one walk and two strikeouts. It was his first Major League action since June 13.

"He hit it well, that's to say the least, not the way you want to start out, it kind of put me on my heels a little bit," Wright said of allowing a homer to Gomez on his first offering. "I tried to bounce back as well as I could."

The Angels rallied for three runs off Rangers reliever Keone Kela in the seventh to take a 5-4 lead heading into the eighth. The Rangers went back in front three batters into the inning thanks to Lucroy's 10th homer in 31 games with the club.

With their fourth consecutive loss, the Angels were officially eliminated from winning the AL West.

Video: TEX@LAA: Scioscia on pitching struggles in home loss

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Angels core comes through:
Calhoun, Trout and Cron represent a bright future for the Angels, and they showed why on Saturday night. Calhoun tied the game at 4 with a two-run shot to right in the seventh, his 17th homer of the year. Cron added a run-scoring double, which briefly gave the Angels a lead. Trout continued his MVP-caliber season with two hits, one RBI, one run and one steal.

Video: TEX@LAA: Cron hammers a go-ahead ground-rule double

Car Gone: Gomez teed off on the first pitch he saw from Wright and sent it over the fences to lead off the game with his first home run. In the fourth inning, Gomez took Wright deep for a second time, making the score 4-1 with a 2-run homer. It was Gomez's fourth multi-home-run game of his career. More >

Video: TEX@LAA: Gomez launches his second homer of the game

Trout nears 30-30 season: Trout stole third base in the seventh inning, his 25th steal of the year. He has 27 homers. Trout is seeking to become the first player in MLB history with two 30-30 seasons before his age-25 season. Trout and Darryl Strawberry are the only players in MLB history with three seasons of 25 homers and 25 steals during their age-24 season or younger.

Hamels bounces back: Coming off the worst two-game stretch of the season and the shortest start of his career, Hamels limited the Angels to two runs on four hits and struck out six over six innings. He settled for a no-decision but felt like he had been able to fix many of the mistakes from those two dismal starts.

"There's some things I'll still probably be working on but it's a work in progress," Hamels said. "I'm building toward the end of the season."

Video: TEX@LAA: Hamels whiffs Trout in the 5th inning

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Wright is the first pitcher to allow a homer on his first pitch as an Angel since Joe Blanton on April 4, 2013 against the Reds (Shin-Soo Choo).

SCIOSCIA EJECTED
Angels manager Mike Scioscia was ejected in the ninth inning by home plate umpire Mike Winters for arguing balls and strikes. Scioscia was ejected with one out in the ninth following a 0-1 pitch to Trout that was called a strike. It was Scioscia's first ejection this season.

"I was arguing balls and strikes," Scioscia said. "Mike Trout doesn't say anything. The catcher, Lucroy, reached across for that ball and we all felt just from where he was setting up that that pitch had to be outside and I think it was."

UPON FURTHER REVIEW
With one out and the bases empty in the top of the fourth inning, Elvis Andrus was hit by a 1-1 pitch from Wright. The Angels challenged and the call on the field stood after a review of 1:53.

"It's frustrating, it's frustrating," Scioscia said. "I don't know if they have different angles in New York, but there's no doubt it hit the bat, but that's what happens."

Video: TEX@LAA: Andrus' hit-by-pitch stands in the 4th

WHAT'S NEXT
Rangers: Colby Lewis (6-1, 3.21 ERA) will be reinstated from the disabled list and make his first start since June 21. Lewis is 4-5 with a 4.35 ERA in 11 appearances at Angel Stadium but won his last two starts against the Angels before the injury. First pitch is 2:35 p.m. CT.

Home team: Jered Weaver (10-11, 5,37 ERA) starts for the Angels on Sunday in the finale of a three-game series against the Rangers. Weaver beat the Rangers in his only other start against them this year, firing six innings of one-run ball in his season debut on April 10 at Angel Stadium. First pitch is 12:35 p.m. PT.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. He covered the Angels on Saturday.

Abbey Mastracco is a contributor to MLB.com who covered the Rangers on Saturday.