Rookies shine in rout, as Rangers win seventh straight

Bonilla holds Halos hitless through four, earns second big league win

Rookies shine in rout, as Rangers win seventh straight

ANAHEIM -- The Angels were able to wrap up the AL West title early this week, fortuitous timing considering baseball's hottest team just came to town.

That would be the Rangers, and they extended their winning streak to seven games with a 12-3 victory over the Angels on Friday night. Lisalverto Bonilla earned his second victory in his second Major League start, holding the Angels to two runs in five innings.

"We're just rolling right now," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "We're not really thinking, we're just going out there and playing good baseball and being aggressive. When we do that, we usually win. That's the way we're playing right now."

The Angels, who had won 12 of their last 13 against the Rangers, may have the division title wrapped up but they still want home-field advantage guaranteed for the ALCS and they had their full lineup in the game Friday with the exception of injured outfielder Josh Hamilton.

They also had left-hander Hector Santiago on the mound and he was 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA in five outings against the Rangers this season.

The Rangers lineup wasn't quite as inexperienced as usual. They have started as many as six rookies in a game but had just four in the lineup along with the one on the mound. But, once again, the rookies were particularly destructive as Jake Smolinski, Ryan Rua, Rougned Odor and Daniel Robertson were a combined 8-for-18 with six runs scored and five RBI.

"We're playing good baseball and we're playing together as a team," Robertson said. "We still have a great group of guys and we come to the field expecting to win every day and expecting to play well. If it ends up as seven in a row, so be it."

Leonys Martin got the Rangers started in the first. He led off with a single, stole second, went to third on Andrus' slow grounder and scored on a single by Adam Rosales.

After Adrian Beltre flied out, Smolinski smashed a two-run home run to left-center. It's his second home run in four games after being activated off the disabled list Tuesday. Smolinski missed six weeks with a fractured bone in his left foot and hadn't played since July 21.

Rua, Odor and Robertson opened the second with consecutive singles to make it 4-0. With runners on first and second, Martin dropped a bunt that he beat out while Santiago threw the ball over first baseman Albert Pujols' head. A run scored while the Rangers were left with runners at second and third. After Vinnie Pestano took over in relief for the Angels, a wild pitch scored one run and Andrus' sacrifice fly gave the Rangers a seven-run lead.

The Rangers kept scoring all night and have scored six or more runs in five straight games. The last time that happened was Aug. 12-16, 2011. The Rangers have also had 10-plus hits in five straight games and are hitting .320 during the winning streak. Their pitchers have a 1.86 ERA during the streak, including 2.09 from the starters.

"They are excited about being out there and they are having fun," manager Tim Bogar said. "They have a little cohesiveness and they are feeding off each other. It helps to get great starting pitching and that's what we've been getting lately."

Bonilla did not allow a hit through four innings. That ended when David Freese led off the fifth with a double and Brennan Boesch hit a two-run home run. That was all the Angels got off Bonilla, who walked four and struck out four while throwing 85 pitches.

"He was little erratic but effectively wild," Bogar said. "You can do that when you're not giving up hits. The [Angels] lineup is pretty impressive so he might have been trying to be a little more fine and do too much rather than getting the ball over the plate."

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.