Rangers bested by Angels' execution late

Rangers bested by Angels' execution late

Rangers bested by Angels' execution late
ARLINGTON -- Rangers starter Matt Harrison was ahead 1-2 on Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo and ended up walking him to start the seventh. Then the Angels started to do what they've been known to do.

They dropped bunts and they hit sacrifice flies. They manufactured runs and gave the Rangers a reminder that they can still be a tenacious offensive team. Their bullpen made those two runs stand up, and the Angels held off the Rangers for a 4-2 victory on Saturday afternoon at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Josh Hamilton hit his 18th home run of the season for the Rangers and ninth in six games. But in a pitching battle between Harrison and former teammate C.J. Wilson, the Angels won this game in the seventh with their offensive execution.

"That's why they've been so successful the last few years," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "They do the little things, and this was a game that came down to the little things. They had the opportunity to do those things. That's the type of game they play. "

Wilson was starting for the second straight day. He was on the mound for the Angels on Friday night but pitched to only five batters before the game was delayed almost two hours by rain. Angels manager Mike Scioscia decided to hold him out until Saturday, and the awkward pitching arrangement didn't seem bother Wilson.

"It's difficult, but being a reliever for so long, you develop sort of a 'I have to pitch tomorrow' routine," Wilson said. "I guess I did enough convincing in Mike's office last night that I'd be ready to go. Right when the game resumed, I hopped in my car, drove home, tried to get some rest."

Wilson, who won 31 games for the Rangers the previous two seasons before signing with the Angels, also wasn't particularly fazed by an overall negative reception from another sellout crowd at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

"It's more a technical thing than anything else," Wilson said. "They're a great-hitting team ... so they can hurt you at any point. That's really the most difficult thing. Emotionally, I obviously had a dry run yesterday to see what it was going to feel like and hear the fans, their colorful insights on me and my career and what-not, but I'm just trying to get the hitters out.

"There's no benefit to make it emotional. You try to de-personalize it as much as possible, and that's something I've been working on all year."

Harrison allowed just four hits over six-plus innings, but he also walked two and both ended up scoring. He walked Torii Hunter with two outs in the fourth, and Trumbo followed with a two-run home run to give the Angels a 2-0 lead.

"I gave them an extra at-bat that inning," Harrison said. "I ended up having to pitch to another guy and made a bad pitch down the middle."

A two-out RBI single by Craig Gentry gave the Rangers one run in the fifth, and Hamilton tied it in the sixth. But Harrison couldn't keep it there. Instead, he walked Trumbo to start the seventh.

"I was ahead of him, didn't put him away and it gave them a chance to start a big inning," Harrison said.

Howard Kendrick came up next. He took a ball and a strike, and then dropped a bunt on a 1-1 pitch down the third-base line. Third baseman Michael Young was looking for a bunt with no strikes, but then dropped back with one strike and had no play. Kendrick was safe with a hit.

"I didn't think he would bunt with one strike, risk fouling it off," Young said. "That would give him two strikes. It was a great bunt."

Alexi Ogando replaced Harrison, and Peter Bourjos dropped another bunt in the same direction. This time Ogando fielded the ball and threw to first, but Bourjos beat it out for a single. That loaded the bases.

Pinch-hitter Kendrys Morales' sacrifice fly scored one run and, after John Hester reached on an infield single, Mike Trout brought home another run with a sacrifice fly to make it 4-2. The Angels then used three relievers to hold the Rangers hitless over the final three innings to close it down.

The loss came in the Rangers' fourth game in a 50-hour period. They played a doubleheader on Thursday night in Baltimore to end their 11-day road trip, they won Friday night at home in the rain-delayed affair and Saturday's 12:07 p.m. CT start was the earliest in the history of Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

"Obviously, the last 12 days have been tough, but we don't make excuses, we go out and play," Washington said. "They beat us. We didn't take advantage of our opportunities. When we play these guys, it comes down to who executes. They did and we didn't."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.