Angels win 6th game in a row, 9-3 over Rangers
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Kole Calhoun got the Los Angeles Angels started with a leadoff homer, and No. 9 batter Collin Cowgill had a big eighth inning.
Manager Mike Scioscia’s team is rolling down the stretch, scoring plenty of runs and piling up wins.
Cowgill reached on an infield single to start a seven-run eighth, scored on Mike Trout’s triple and capped the outburst with a bases-loaded triple as the Angels stretched their winning streak to six with a 9-3 victory over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.
“Obviously, it’s a potent offense when everybody’s contributing,” Cowgill said. “It seems like everyone is hot right now.”
The Angels, with the best record in the majors at 89-55, have scored 55 runs during a winning streak that matches their longest of the season. The AL West leaders have won 12 of 14 overall.
“We’ve started to get into our game offensively,” Scioscia said. “We got started a little bit late tonight. We had better at-bats as the game went on.”
Calhoun’s third leadoff homer this season, and 15th long ball overall, came on an 0-2 pitch from Colby Lewis (9-13).
The right-hander was lifted after Cowgill reached to start the eighth when he took a full swing for a slow chopper. Third baseman Adrian Beltre cleanly fielded the ball, but there was no time to make a throw.
“An inch either way, it’s either a swing-and-miss, or it’s hit hard enough to where (Beltre) gets him out,” Lewis said.
After Trout was thrown out trying to score on Albert Pujols’ hard grounder to Beltre, six batters in a row reached base against two relievers. Robbie Ross was greeted by Erick Aybar’s two-run double and then issued a bases-loaded walk before Cowgill tripled down the right-field line for a 9-1 lead.
Hector Santiago (5-7) allowed only a solo homer in five innings.
Beltre had three hits and scored twice for Texas, which has the worst record in the majors and is 35 games behind the Angels. The last time the Rangers (54-90) were that far back in a division race was their 43-game deficit behind Seattle at the end of the 2001 season.
Beltre hit his 18th homer to straightaway center in the fourth, then singled in the eighth before scoring on Ryan Rua’s two-run double.
Los Angeles led for good soon after David Freese reached on an error by right fielder Michael Choice to start the fourth. Brennan Boesch’s sacrifice fly made it 2-1.
OVER — AND NOT OUT
After Cowgill’s single to start the eighth, he stole second base — a play that was challenged by Texas interim manager Tim Bogar. Cowgill slid headfirst and his body appeared to pop up over the base as he did, while shortstop Luis Sardinas kept a tag applied the entire time. After a review of 2 minutes, 24 seconds, the play stood because replays apparently never showed definitively that Cowgill lost contact with the bag.
“I don’t know if I stayed on it, but felt like I did,” Cowgill said. “They made the right call.”
SHORT AND SWEET
Santiago was done after 79 pitches. “It was a matchup situation,” Scioscia said. In 17 games (14 starts) since returning from Triple-A Salt Lake, Santiago is 5-1 with a 2.71 ERA in 79 2-3 innings. He has won five decisions in a row since July 10.
Angels: OF Josh Hamilton missed his fifth game in a row because of a sore right shoulder that is starting to concern Scioscia. “Guys play banged-up when you’re in a pennant race, so for Josh to not play, you know he’s hurting,” Scioscia said.
Rangers: C Robinson Chirinos (neck stiffness) took batting practice and could be close to playing again after missing his eighth game in a row. ... OF Engel Beltre, out all season with a broken bone in his right leg, is scheduled for surgery Wednesday on a stress fracture in his left leg.
Rookie RHP Matt Shoemaker (14-4) goes for his 15th win and the Angels try to become the first 90-win team in the majors in the middle game of the three-game set.
RHP Nick Tepesch (4-9) starts for the Rangers. He has allowed three earned runs or fewer six times in his last seven games.