ANAHEIM -- Left-hander Tyler Skaggs managed to keep the Rangers at bay Sunday, but he had to work hard to do it. When he jogged out to the mound for the start of the sixth inning, his pitch count stood at 97. Beyond the left-field fence, the Angels had a
ANAHEIM -- Left-hander Tyler Skaggs managed to keep the Rangers at bay Sunday, but he had to work hard to do it. When he jogged out to the mound for the start of the sixth inning, his pitch count stood at 97. Beyond the left-field fence, the Angels had a reliever warming in the bullpen in the event of distress.
But Skaggs proceeded to deliver one of his most efficient innings of the afternoon, dispatching Adrian Beltre, Jurickson Profar and Rougned Odor on 10 pitches to cap his six shutout innings and paving the way for the Angels' 3-1 win over the Rangers at Angel Stadium.
"Tyler settled down," manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's putting up zeros, but he was working for every out. His stuff looked really good today, but after the first two innings, we're sitting there mapping it out, hoping he could get us five. He comes off in the fifth and felt good, so we said, 'This is one of those days, man. Go out there and try to get us another three outs.' He had a good sixth inning."
Skaggs limited the Rangers to four hits while walking three, striking out six and throwing 107 pitches. Luis Valbuena's two-run double and Justin Upton's solo home run helped make a winner out of Skaggs, who evened his record to 4-4 and lowered his ERA to 3.27 on the season.
Jim Johnson relieved Skaggs in the seventh and posted a scoreless inning before handing it off to Noe Ramirez, who surrendered a solo home run to Nomar Mazara that cut the Angels' lead to 3-1 in the eighth.
Rookie Justin Anderson made it even more interesting in the ninth after issuing three consecutive full-count walks to load the bases with two outs. The last two to pinch-hitter Joey Gallo and Shin-Soo Choo were on borderline calls by home-plate umpire Chris Conroy. Still, Anderson survived the jam by coaxing a flyout to right field from Isiah Kiner-Falefa to end the game.
"I didn't realize how bad I got squeezed until I came back inside and watched some of the video," said Anderson, who earned his second save of the year. "But it's part of it. You've just got to make the most of it on those days and do what you can."
With the win, the Angels (32-28) secured a series victory and improved to 15-7 against American League West opponents this season. Angels starters did not allow an earned run over 19 innings during this three-game series against the Rangers and now have a 2.56 ERA since May 1, the best mark in the AL.
"I just think we all want to one-up each other," Skaggs said. "It's that quiet competitiveness. I think we're doing a good job of it right now."
The Angels got on the board in the second inning after Shohei Ohtani and Zack Cozart strung together back-to-back singles and scored on Valbuena's double to right field off Texas right-hander Doug Fister. Upton extended the Angels' lead to 3-0 in the sixth after hammering a cutter from Fister 399 feet over the left-center-field fence for his 12th home run of the season and first since May 15.
Skaggs was tested by a few jams, but he managed to buckle down and dodge trouble. The Rangers put runners on first and second with two outs in the first inning after Kiner-Falefa singled and Beltre walked, but Skaggs induced a flyout to center field from Profar to end the threat.
After Choo doubled and Kiner-Falefa walked to open the third, Skaggs found himself engaged in a long battle with Mazara, who fouled off four consecutive two-strike pitches before striking out swinging on a 94-mph fastball. Skaggs then retired Beltre and Profar on a pair of flyouts to strand the runners.
"Texas, they face me tough," Skaggs said. "I wouldn't say they see me well, but they put together good ABs against me. I just told myself, 'This is the inning. If I win this inning, I think we win the game.' And we ended up winning the game."
In the fifth, Skaggs received an assist from Michael Trout, who made an impressive running catch at the center-field fence to rob Delino DeShields of a leadoff hit.
Trout banged his right knee after colliding with the wall and briefly limped on his subsequent steps, but he stayed in and played the rest of the game without issue. Scioscia said Trout is fine and is expected to be in the lineup on Monday.
"He's not the most fragile person in the world, so I wasn't too worried," Upton quipped.
The Angels continue their homestand by hosting the Royals for a three-game series beginning Monday night at 7:07 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Right-hander Nick Tropeano (3-3, 3.80 ERA) gets the start for the Halos, opposing left-hander Danny Duffy (2-6, 5.71 ERA) in the opener. Tropeano will look to win his third consecutive start for the first time in his career. He fired 6 2/3 scoreless innings against the Royals on April 12 at Kauffman Stadium and is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in two career starts against Kansas City.
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.