ANAHEIM, Calif. -- If there is an early leader for a defining trait at the infancy of the Don Wakamatsu era, resiliency appears to have surged in front.The Rangers refused to go down without a fight Monday in Wakamatsu's fourth game as interim manager, eventually falling 5-4 to the Angels
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- If there is an early leader for a defining trait at the infancy of the Don Wakamatsu era, resiliency appears to have surged in front.
The Rangers refused to go down without a fight Monday in Wakamatsu's fourth game as interim manager, eventually falling 5-4 to the Angels in the 11th inning on a game-ending home run from pinch-hitter Jose Briceno.
The Rangers forced extra innings on a two-out rally in the ninth inning, getting a blistering double from Ronald Guzman and an RBI single from pinch-hitter Elvis Andrus to tie the score 4-4.
"We talked about playing hard through the end of the season, and there is some energy and some personality," Wakamatsu said. "It's nice to be able to use those pieces and they end up working out for the most part."
Before the ninth-inning rally, it appeared as if a hit batter, a balk and a wild pitch would be the Rangers' undoing.
A home run from Jurickson Profar got the Rangers back into the series opener, tying the score 3-3 in the sixth inning, but it was the slow journey around the bases by Jefry Marte that gave the Angels a lead again at 4-3.
With Rangers starter Adrian Sampson still on the mound in the sixth, Marte was hit by a pitch. He advanced to second base when Sampson balked, as he prematurely started his delivery. A groundout retired Francisco Arcia, but Marte advanced to third on the play.
After Connor Sadzeck replaced Sampson, Michael Hermosillo walked, but the ball got past catcher Isiah Kiner-Falefa for a wild pitch and Marte scored.
Nothing was subtle about how the Angels took the lead on two separate occasions over the first four innings. Shohei Ohtani crushed a 428-foot first-inning home run deep into the seats in right field for a 1-0 lead, and fourth-inning homers from Marte and Hermosillo gave the Angels the lead again at 3-1.
Sampson gave up all three home runs, allowing five hits overall in 5 1/3 innings with two walks and six strikeouts. Sampson has now made two of his three starts against the Angels, giving up four runs over 10 1/3 innings in those two outings.
"I felt good and I was able to throw my offspeed pitches for strikes," Sampson said. "I just left some pitches over the plate for them to [hit] a little bit, but overall I thought it was good. I kept us in the game."
The Rangers supplied their own long-ball offense. Guzman tucked a second-inning home run just inside the left-field foul pole for his 16th of the season. And Profar tied the score 3-3 with his two-run homer to right, his 19th.
The Rangers had just four home runs over their previous six games, with Adrian Beltre and Joey Gallo hitting two each.
Gallo struck out four times to give him 199 on the season, passing his previous club record of 196 set last season.
Both Guzman and Profar ended 3-for-21 dry spells with their home runs. Guzman snapped an 0-for-11 run with two hits Sunday. Profar hit his third home run over his last 10 games.
"Elvis comes off the bench with a huge knock, Profar puts is back in a tie ballgame. [Guzman] had been under the weather and he ends up having an opposite-field homer and a double," Wakamatsu said. "It was a good effort by everybody."
The Rangers are now 2-2 under Wakamatsu, who guided the club to a series victory over the weekend against the Mariners in the last homestand of the season.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Not only was Andrus able to help out late in a pinch, reliever Jose Leclerc pitched a scoreless 10th inning, as he was called on to work his way through Michael Trout (walk) and Ohtani (line drive to center field).
The outing was Leclerc's second in two days, but his previous outing before that came on Sept. 15. He has now delivered 20 consecutive scoreless outings since giving up two runs July 25 against the A's. He has 11 saves in that stretch.
"It was one of those things where [Leclerc] hadn't pitched a lot lately and you figured we might be able to stretch him today," Wakamatsu said. "We had a chance of maybe winning the ballgame, and we went down that road and he gave us another inning to play."
Guzman's second-inning home run gave him 16 on the season, fourth-most by a Rangers rookie since 1999. They are the most home runs from a Rangers rookie since Nomar Mazara had 20 in 2016. Guzman also has 18 doubles and 57 RBIs since he was recalled on April 13.
HE SAID IT
"I think he has located the fastball and there was a stretch there tonight where he was kind of feeling for it, but he came right back after [pitching coach] Doug [Brocail] talked to him a little bit. The big thing for him, going into this winter, is focusing on those secondary pitches where he doesn't make mistakes with them." -- Wakamatsu, on his assessment of Sampson's four appearances (three starts)
Right-hander Yovani Gallardo (8-6, 6.59 ERA) will take the mound Tuesday at Anaheim, having gone 1-5 over his last seven starts with a 7.39 ERA. He still has eight victories since June 23, tied for third most in the American League. The Angels will counter with right-hander Matt Shoemaker (2-2, 5.48) in the 9:07 p.m. CT start time.
Doug Padilla is a contributor to MLB.com based in Los Angeles.