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Beltre, Andrus back Minor in Rangers’ 4-2 win over Angels

September 5, 2018
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Texas Rangers starting pitcher Mike Minor (36) works the first inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels in a baseball game Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez)

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — It was another Minor victory for the Texas Rangers, after they went ahead on solo homers by Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus.

Mike Minor, a full-time reliever for the Royals last season after missing 2 1/2 years because of surgery for a torn labrum, won for the fifth time in his last six starts as the Rangers beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-2 on Tuesday night.

“I think people at the beginning didn’t expect me to have a good season. I think they thought I should go to the bullpen, wasn’t cut out to be a starter anymore in my career,” the 30-year-old left-hander said. “It does feel good to end like this. A couple of more starts to go.”

Andrus hit the first pitch of the fourth inning against Andrew Heaney (8-9) to tie the game at 1. Two batters later, Beltre went deep for the ninth time this season and 471st time in his career to put Texas ahead to stay. He has 3,147 career hits, the most among active players, after that homer and a single in the eighth.

“Huge for those two guys to step up in that situation,” manager Jeff Banister said.

Minor (11-7) pitched into the sixth, striking out seven with one walk and a hit batter while allowing two runs and three hits. He has thrown 140 innings in 25 starts for Texas, which has done its best to manage his time on the mound.

“Probably couldn’t ask for it to work, to this point, any better,” Banister said.

Jose Leclerc struck out two in a perfect ninth for his ninth save — all in nine chances since Aug. 4, after the Rangers traded closer Keone Kela to Pittsburgh.

Minor wasn’t sure he would ever pitch again during the seasons he missed. The former first-round pick for Atlanta, who started 110 games for the Braves from 2010-14, got over that hurdle with 65 relief appearances for Kansas City last year, then turned down a $10 million option to stay with the Royals for a three-year deal with Texas and the chance to start again.

Shohei Ohtani hit his 16th homer for the Angels leading off the sixth to end Minor’s night. It was Ohtani’s first major league homer off a left-handed pitcher, after striking out in his first two at-bats against Minor.

“Just that one home run I hit. I had a couple other opportunities with runners on base and couldn’t come through there, so I’m not fully satisfied with my results,” Ohtani said through a translator. “But I do think I’m getting better when I’m facing left-handers.”

ADRIAN AGAINST THE ANGELS

Beltre played in his 254th career game against the Angels, second only to Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski’s 280. Beltre has 46 homers and 165 RBIs against the Angels, his most against any team — only Alex Rodriguez (70) and Rafael Palmeiro (49) have more homers, and only A-Rod has more RBIs (169). ... Beltre is 8 for 14 with three homers in his career against Heaney.

CLOSING IT DOWN

Leclerc has thrown 15 consecutive scoreless innings, the longest streak by a Texas pitcher this season. Opponents have 25 strikeouts with only two hits in their last 43 at-bats against Leclerc.

OTHER RUNS

Nomar Mazara had a two-run double for the Rangers in the fifth. ... Andrelton Simmons, the Angels shortstop playing on his 29th birthday, had an RBI groundout in the first.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Angels: Ohtani, the two-way rookie who was in the lineup as the DH, will throw a light bullpen Wednesday. He is then scheduled to throw another one Friday that will determine if he will make his next scheduled pitching start Sunday at the Chicago White Sox. ... CF Mike Trout was hit by a pitch on the right knee when batting in the first inning. He remained in the game and iced his knee afterward. The Angels don’t consider it serious.

Rangers: Bartolo Colon, the 45-year-old right-hander, will make his first start since Aug. 20. He was on the disabled list from Aug. 24 to Sept. 1 because of a lower back strain.

UP NEXT

The Angels and Rangers wrap up their second series in Arlington in less than three weeks Wednesday. The two teams at the bottom of the AL West standings still play two more series this season, both in California — next Monday through Wednesday, and then Sept. 24-26 during the last week of the regular season.

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