ARLINGTON, Texas -- Manager Mike Scioscia and Josh Hamilton agreed that it's much too soon to reach for panic buttons. That's for fans who live for today and don't care much about tomorrow or a week from Thursday.
"You can't dissect anyone's season in four games," Scioscia said, his Angels having fallen for the third time in four outings when a 3-2 decision was captured by the Rangers on Friday with some late offense at Rangers Ballpark.
Ian Kinsler's two-out opposite-field single off Scott Downs cashed in Craig Gentry with the decisive run in the bottom of the eighth inning. The big, loud crowd, numbering 48,845, let loose with some positive energy at last when Joe Nathan got the final three outs.
"I'll tell you one thing," Scioscia said. "They definitely showed some passion."
Much of it was directed at Hamilton in the form of boos and chants of an unkind nature. A superstar in the Lone Star State for five years, an American League Most Valuable Player who helped lift the franchise to previously unvisited heights, he's the enemy now in Angels attire -- and the folks who used to cheer him vented in no uncertain terms.
"It kind of hurts to think they'd turn on you," Hamilton said. "I still want to live here. Texas is home. Fans are fans. It's not going to stop me from signing autographs, putting scripture on everything."
Adrian Beltre's solo homer off Garrett Richards pulled the Rangers even in the seventh after Jason Vargas, in his Angels debut, had delivered 5 2/3 gritty innings.
Chris Iannetta, the Angels' hottest hitter, homered for the second time, in the third. Mike Trout doubled home a run for the lead in the fifth, after which the Angels did not advance a runner into scoring position against starter Derek Holland, reliever Tanner Scheppers and Nathan.
Downs' loss was his second. The veteran southpaw yielded a one-out single to Gentry, who stole second and raced home on Kinsler's second hit of the day. Hamilton couldn't reach Gentry's soft fly ball.
"The reason I didn't dive," Hamilton said, "is he's on third if I dive and don't catch it. I'd rather keep him at first. He's fast."
With better luck, Vargas would have been beaming in the aftermath. The tough-minded lefty used all of his guile and experience to hold the Rangers to a run on eight hits and two walks, striking out four.
"I felt like it was good," Vargas said. "We made some good [defensive] plays, and they dumped some balls in to put some pressure on us. You can rely on something you've experienced before to try to slow it down and don't let it get out of control."
Beltre, with an infield hit to show for three at-bats against the veteran, was happy to see Vargas depart.
"He's always tough on me," Beltre said. "He grinds your at-bats, in and out, changing speeds. He knows how to pitch. He's always tough."
Richards, who came on after Kevin Jepsen got the final out in the sixth, is a young right-hander with star-quality stuff. He just happened to err in location against a man who has spent his career launching pitches good and bad into the seats.
"Garrett didn't make many mistakes," Scioscia said, "but he made one, and Adrian didn't miss it. It was a fastball, middle in."