Rangers prevail in Hamilton's return to Big A

Rangers prevail in Hamilton's return to Big A

ANAHEIM -- Colby Lewis was charged with two runs in 7 2/3 innings on Friday night, snapping his six-start losing streak against the Angels and leading the Rangers to a 4-2 victory. Josh Hamilton went 2-for-4 in his first game at Angel Stadium since he was traded to Texas, hitting a double and a single and scoring a couple of runs.

"Really good job by Colby," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "It was important for us to get some runs on the board and let Colby pitch with a lead. We played good defense and had timely hitting."

The Angels (54-42) have lost two straight, after winning 17 of 20, and are now in a virtual tie with the Astros for first place in the American League West. The third-place Rangers (46-49) have won three in a row and are 7 1/2 games back.

The Rangers plated three runs in the fifth, scoring on an errant pickoff throw from Angels starting pitcher Nick Tropeano, then getting an RBI double from Shin-Soo Choo and a run-scoring single from Robinson Chirinos. Lewis had given up 43 runs (39 earned) in 35 innings against the Angels since the start of 2014, but held them to one run on three hits and a walk in the first seven innings.

"He pitched night and day from what we saw in Texas a couple weeks ago and pitched a good ballgame," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He was ahead in the count, had a good slider working and we weren't able to pressure him." 

Hamilton sparks rallies: As expected, Hamilton was booed heavily in his first appearance in Anaheim since the Angels traded him in April. He struck out in his first at-bat but had a one-out double in the fifth to start a three-run rally. He also led off the seventh inning with a single and later scored on Chirinos' squeeze bunt.

"We had really good production from the sixth hole on down," Banister said. More >

Hamilton's double

Tropeano hangs in: The Angels hosted a few extra scouts at the ballpark, most of them watching Tropeano as he made a spot start. The 24-year-old right-hander gave up three runs in the first six innings, then left with two on and none out in the seventh. Tropeano, who pitched six scoreless innings in a spot start on April 23, could be used as a chip to help the Angels get a bat before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

"I felt good," said Tropeano, who was optioned back to Triple-A after the game. "I think it was just that fifth inning. Kind of fell into some bad counts, leaked a few pitches over the middle and paid for it. Just got to keep working." More >

Tropeano pitches into the 7th

Kela saves Lewis: Lewis left the game with two on and two out with the Rangers holding a 4-1 lead in the eighth. Keone Kela came on with Mike Trout at the plate and Albert Pujols on-deck. Kela gave up an RBI single to Trout but then caught Pujols looking with a 98-mph fastball.

Kela escapes trouble

Good afternoon, good evening, good night: The Angels had runners on first and second with none out in the sixth for the most menacing part of their lineup, but Lewis struck out Kole Calhoun, Trout and Pujols to maintain a two-run lead. Two innings earlier, Trout hit his 29th home run -- tied with Pujols for the Major League lead -- on Lewis' high fastball.

"That was really the inning that kept him going," Banister said. "He was working through the heart of their order and made some really good pitches." More >

Lewis fans nine for win No. 10

"Obviously everybody knew he was going to get booed, but we've turned the page over here and he's turned the page since he's been over there." -- Trout, on Hamilton

The Angels lost a challenge in the seventh, when replay officials confirmed a safe call on Choo at first base. With none out, Angels first baseman C.J. Cron fielded Choo's hard grounder, quickly fired to second for the out and would've completed the double play had he kept his foot on the bag while fielding the return throw from shortstop Erick Aybar, but replay showed no conclusive evidence to overturn the call and it was allowed to stand.

Angels lose challenge

Friday marked the first time the Angels had lost back-to-back games since June 20-21, in Oakland. It was the first time they had lost consecutive home games since June 15-16, against the A's and D-backs.

Rangers: Right-hander Yovani Gallardo pitches against the Angels at 7:05 p.m. PT Saturday in the second game of this series at Angel Stadium. Gallardo will be trying to break a three-game losing streak. This will be his first career start against the Angels.

Angels: Hector Santiago gets the ball for the Halos. The 27-year-old left-hander pitched seven scoreless innings against the Rangers on the Fourth of July and is in the midst of a breakout season, with a 2.30 ERA.

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Alden Gonzalez and T.R. Sullivan are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.