ARLINGTON -- The Rangers strung together six runs on eight hits in the third inning, ending Matt Shoemaker's night early while en route to a 7-2 thrashing of the Angels at Globe Life Park on Saturday night.The eight hits and 11 plate appearances went down as a season high in
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers strung together six runs on eight hits in the third inning, ending Matt Shoemaker's night early while en route to a 7-2 thrashing of the Angels at Globe Life Park on Saturday night.
The eight hits and 11 plate appearances went down as a season high in an inning for Texas, which has won four in a row and eight of 12 to finish the month of April at 14-10.
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"It's nice, still, I guarantee you everybody in here would tell you that we should have done a lot better," Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland said of his team's performance in the first month of the season. "But at the same time we're in a good spot, we're playing hard, we're having a lot of fun out there as a group. It's a good way to start off the season and something to build on throughout the rest of it."
Delino DeShields singled, Rougned Odor doubled, Nomar Mazara added a sacrifice fly, then Adrian Beltre, Prince Fielder and Ian Desmond strung together consecutive singles, setting the stage for Moreland's back-breaking three-run homer.
That was plenty for Derek Holland, who scattered four hits in six scoreless innings to lower his ERA to 2.48. It gave the Rangers 18 quality starts, the most in the American League. The Angels (11-13) didn't score their first run until the ninth inning, when Albert Pujols took Phil Klein deep for his team-leading sixth home run. It marked the 19th time in 24 games that the Angels had been held to four runs or less.
"He definitely missed with some spots," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Shoemaker. "The fastball to Moreland was supposed to be located down and away, but he missed up and in with it. … His stuff looked really good -- it looked like he had a good fastball, had good life, made some good pitches. And then of course there were some mistakes that those guys didn't miss. All in all, it's just another rough outing."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Rangers give Shoemaker the boot early: The Rangers roughed up Shoemaker from the start of the third inning, as seven of the eight hitters he faced collected hits off him and the other drove in a run with a sac fly. After DeShields' single, Odor's fraction-of-an-inch-fair double sparked an offensive outburst that culminated in Moreland's rocket to right, his third homer of the season. Elvis Andrus then doubled, giving the Rangers five consecutive hits off Shoemaker and bringing Scioscia out of the dugout to pull the starter.
"The old saying, 'hitting is contagious' -- it probably helps a little bit," Moreland said. "We've got a tough group, one through nine, we can do a lot of things. Today was just more proof of that, what we're able to do when we get going and have those big innings."
Two extremes: Shoemaker has pitched brilliantly in two prior road starts, giving up a combined two runs in 12 1/3 innings in Oakland and Chicago. But he's now had three starts in which he's been unable to record an out in the fourth inning, a span in which he has allowed 20 runs (19 earned) on 22 hits and six walks in 8 1/3 innings. Five days earlier, Scioscia said of Shoemaker: "It's all right to bend, but you can't implode like he has [in two prior home starts]." It happened again in Saturday's third inning.
"I'm just trying to figure out a way to stop that," Shoemaker said. "What is that, three out of five games that I can't even get past three or four innings? That's unacceptable. It's just something I have to figure out." More >
DeShields covers some ground: DeShields caught five fly balls in center field Saturday night, including a couple that required fantastic efforts to track down. In the fourth inning, Pujols hit a shallow fly ball that DeShields caught after running straight in and diving forward. DeShields also made a shoestring catch in short center in the fifth on a C.J. Cron ball.
Mazara turns homer into triple: Rangers rookie right fielder Mazara helped Holland out in the second inning with a leaping play at the wall that denied Cron of a home run. Mazara went back to the warning track, jumped and briefly had Cron's fly ball in his glove, but as Mazara's left arm hit the wall, the ball whiplashed out of his glove back onto the field. Cron made it to third, but Holland got out of the inning unscatched and retired the next seven batters after Mazara's play.
"The defense has played extremely well, you saw some very nice plays tonight -- probably none better than the play by Mazara robbing a home run again," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.
"In some stretches we played great baseball in April, and some of the things we need to be more consistent with, and weren't, showed up and cost us ballgames. … There's upside on this team. I think we're going to prove that, as the summer goes on. In April, we just didn't do enough things to come out with a winning record. But there's a long way to go. The focus has to be on the process. We have to do things better, and we're very, very confident that we will." -- Scioscia, assessing his team's first month
"He's a spark plug, he's that type of player that he makes a lot of stuff happen on the field. He can really hit. ... I think he went all three ways with his doubles tonight. He's impressive what he's able to do, he's got a lot of moving parts but he still keeps his head still and gets the barrel to everything, it seems like. It's a lot of fun to watch." -- Moreland, on Odor's hitting
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Mike Trout threw wide of home late in the fourth inning, allowing the trailing runner to reach second and giving him his first error since Sept. 24, 2014, a stretch of 185 games.
Odor thought he had an extra-base hit and RBI when he lined a ball down the right-field line in the third inning with a fast runner on first. First-base umpire Dale Scott ruled the ball foul, however, and Odor put his hands on his helmet in shock as he crossed first base before the Rangers decided to challenge the call. Replays showed the ball kicking up a plume of chalk as it hit the dirt down the line. The ball appeared to barely graze the right side of the foul line. The call was overturned and Odor was awarded a double. DeShields, who likely would have scored from first, was put on third but came home on next batter Mazara's sacrifice fly.
"They saw the chalk and gave us the go-ahead on challenging the play," Banister said of his team's replay tandem, video coordinator Adam Brenner and replay coordinator Bobby Jones. "Early in the game when you challenge plays like that, you really like to be correct. They were pretty solid, gave us the percentage on what we felt it would go in our favor, and it was a big play for us."
In the middle of the fourth, the Rangers assembled six mascots on the center-field lawn with fishing rods and signs that read "Trout Fishing." The mascots were for the Rangers, Reds, Padres, Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Stars and FC Dallas. Trout saw them and had a good laugh.
Angels:Garrett Richards (1-3, 2.35 ERA) takes the ball in Sunday's series finale, with first pitch set for 12:05 p.m. PT. Richards is coming off capturing his first win and has given up just six runs in his last 28 innings at Globe Life Park.
Rangers:Cole Hamels (3-0, 2.52 ERA) will make his fifth start of the year in Sunday's 2:05 p.m. CT finale, after skipping his previous start due to left groin soreness. The Rangers have won each of his last 14 starts dating back to August.
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Alden Gonzalez has covered the Angels for MLB.com since 2012. Follow him on Facebook , and listen to his podcast.
Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com based in Arlington.