ANAHEIM -- The Rangers used their home-run muscle to take advantage of the Angels' starting rotation woes and power their way to an 8-3 victory on Thursday afternoon at Angel Stadium. The Rangers finished the series taking two of three.
"After giving the first game away here, every guy stayed engaged," manager Jeff Banister said. "We swung the bats well and were able to add on some runs late. That's something we have talked about."
Carlos Gomez and Nomar Mazara both hit home runs for the Rangers, who have now gone deep at least once in their first nine games. The club record is 10 straight games to begin the season, done in 2009. The Rangers have 18 home runs in their first nine games. They hit 19 in the first nine games of the 2009 season.
The home runs came off of Angels starter Ricky Nolasco, the Angels' Opening Day starter who allowed five runs in five innings. Angels starters are now 1-4 with a 6.00 ERA after 10 games.
Rangers starter Yu Darvish was outstanding for seven innings in getting his first win of the season. He allowed five hits, walked just two and struck out 10. Darvish had struck out just nine in 12 1/3 innings over his first two starts.
"Some of the spin on his off-speed between his cutter and slider and curveball, the spin on it is pretty similar but the change in speed is pretty drastic," Angels third baseman Danny Espinosa said. "He was throwing strikes and ahead in the counts, and making pretty good pitches when he needed to."
The Rangers were one out away from a shutout, but Espinosa hit a three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth off of reliever Mike Hauschild.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Gomez gets Rangers started: Gomez entered the game with one hit in his last 17 at-bats. But he jumped on an 0-1 fastball and hit it out to left-center at a projected distance of 412 feet, according to Statcast™, for his 11th career leadoff homer. Gomez is now 5-for-36 on the season, and three of his hits have been home runs.
"Everybody loves that, every time you start out the game 1-0 and your starting pitcher hasn't even come out," Gomez said. "It's a different feeling. Starting the game with a home run is big."
Darvish does double: Darvish struck out 10, but he also was able to get the ground ball when needed. Mike Trout led off the sixth with a single and went to third on a one-out base hit by Andrelton Simmons. But Darvish kept the shutout intact by getting Cameron Maybin to hit a grounder right at second baseman Rougned Odor to start an inning-ending double play. The Angels were 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position off Darvish.
"In games before, we struggled sometimes in those situations," Darvish said. "We need to put zeros on the scoreboard. I wanted to put a zero on the scoreboard and keep the momentum."
"I like the way our club continues to compete and continues to grind it out. I believe our offense is proving we can manufacture runs, string some hits together and take some walks, and drive in some runs without hitting the ball out of the ballpark. Because we know we've got guys who can hit the ball out of the ballpark." -- Banister, on Rangers offense
WHAT'S NEXT Rangers: Left-hander Martin Perez pitches for the Rangers in the opener of a three-game series with the Mariners at 9:10 p.m. CT Friday at Safeco Field. Perez is 5-2 with a 3.26 ERA in 10 starts and two relief appearances against the Mariners.
Angels: After 111 games out of the bullpen, right-hander JC Ramirez will make his first career start against the Royals at 5:15 p.m. PT Friday in Kansas City. Ramirez is starting for Garrett Richards, out with a biceps strain.