ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Kole Calhoun is embracing his role leading off for the Los Angeles Angels. And he’s doing it well.
Calhoun opened the game with a single and added a double before his tiebreaking, three-run homer that put the Angels ahead to stay in a 5-4 victory over the Texas Rangers on Friday night, when Garrett Richards worked into the eighth inning for his 13th win.
“I want to be a catalyst for the offense, get on base, score some runs,” Calhoun said by phone after initially making a quick exit from the clubhouse after the game. “I want so bad to get on base. … I’m having fun right there.”
Calhoun, who finished a triple shy of the cycle, was also hit by a pitch. He had multiple hits for the fifth time in his last six games.
“He kind of flies under the radar, but I don’t know if there are too many leadoff men as dynamic as Kole has been,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
Richards (13-4), who struck out seven without a walk in 7 1-3 innings, has won all four of his starts this season against Texas. The right-hander allowed two runs while scattering seven hits.
“He’s been the same every time,” said Adrian Beltre, who got three of his four hits off Richards.
Angels catcher Chris Iannetta said Richards is “coming into his own.”
“We’re just seeing him mature,” Iannetta said. “He’s got great stuff, and he’s starting to command it more.”
The Angels led for good after Calhoun’s 412-foot shot off Nick Martinez (2-9) into the second deck of seats in right field made it 4-1 in the fifth. Another run scored when Calhoun grounded into a double play in the seventh.
Huston Street worked a perfect ninth for his eighth save in as many chances since the Angels acquired him. He has 11 scoreless innings in 11 games since the July 18 trade from San Diego, where he had 24 saves.
Martinez struck out six while allowing four runs and six hits in six innings.
“Just one unexecuted pitch, the one to Calhoun. He wanted to go down and away, and ended up pulling it across the middle of the plate,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “Other than that, I thought he did a swell job.”
STRIKE THREE - TIMES FOUR
Josh Hamilton was 1 for 5 with four strikeouts, the hit an opposite-field bloop single off a pitcher making his major league debut. Hamilton is 5 for 38 (.132) over his last 10 games, and without an RBI in his last nine. “We’re not seeing the aggressive Josh Hamilton that we saw when he played for Texas. We’re not seeing that,” Scioscia said. “There’s a lot of things that he’s trying. Josh is working very hard, and nobody feels worse than Josh. We need him in the middle of our lineup doing what he can do.”