ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - A few minutes after Kole Calhoun got thrown out at the plate in the sixth inning, the same thing happened to Erick Aybar.
Wasting baserunners usually would be a major problem for the Los Angeles Angels, who haven’t exactly been battering the ball this season.
This time, that sixth inning was still big enough to keep their winning streak going.
C.J. Cron hit a tiebreaking, two-run single in the sixth, leading the Angels to their third straight victory, 4-1 over the Texas Rangers on Saturday night.
Albert Pujols tied it with a bases-loaded single for the Angels, who scored three runs in the sixth despite having two runners thrown out at the plate.
“It’s how we play,” Cron said. “We’re an aggressive ballclub, and we’re going to run the bases. Fortunately, the offense put up enough runs this time.”
Mike Trout singled, reached base three times and scored the tiebreaking run after the Angels honored him in a pregame ceremony for winning last season’s AL MVP award.
Pujols also drew a bases-loaded walk in the seventh as Los Angeles climbed back to .500. Calhoun had three hits, and Grant Green went 2 for 3 and scored two runs in his season debut at second base.
Those balanced contributions are what manager Mike Scioscia wants every night.
“We need to get deeper,” Scioscia said. “We have to keep that going. We’ll feel better when we get some guys swinging the bats, but we’re getting some wins, and hopefully we’ll keep it going. We don’t want to rely on our pitchers this much.”
C.J. Wilson yielded seven hits and three walks during 5 2-3 innings for the Angels, but Texas pushed across just one run on his wild pitch in the fourth.
After his start was pushed back two days by pain in his left elbow, Wilson found trouble in every inning against his former team, but kept Texas off the scoreboard until the fourth when Adrian Beltre hit a leadoff single and eventually scored. The Rangers stranded eight runners put on base against Wilson, who felt good about his resilience.
“Mike knows I’m a really competitive guy and I want to pitch, even if I don’t have my best stuff,” Wilson said. “I’m going to go out there and try to compete.”
Los Angeles’ bullpen was rock-solid again, with five relievers throwing 3 1-3 innings of one-hit ball. Vinny Pestano (1-0) escaped a bases-loaded jam created by Wilson in the sixth, getting Robinson Chirinos on a groundout. Huston Street then saved his third consecutive game for the Angels, his seventh in seven chances this season.
Colby Lewis (1-2) didn’t allow a runner to reach second base until the sixth, when he was abruptly chased with the bases loaded. Texas reliever Roman Mendez allowed three runs to score, and the Rangers lost for the fifth time in six games.
“I’m frustrated with myself,” Lewis said. “When you’re in close ballgames like that, I feel like your pitch count just goes up because you’re always worried about the next pitch. You end up throwing more pitches than you’re used to throwing, so it doesn’t allow you to let up on any pitches, because every pitch matters.”
The AL West rivals played the middle game of their series while wrapping up a deal to send $125 million Angels slugger Josh Hamilton back to Texas, according to multiple media reports. The troubled 2010 AL MVP could be a boost to the Rangers’ struggling lineup, while Los Angeles is still unable to find production in left field after Hamilton’s two poor seasons and Matt Joyce’s rough start to his first season with the Angels. Joyce went 0 for 3 with a walk, dropping his average to .132.
IT NEVER RAINS?
Batting practice was canceled when an unexpected storm dropped rain all over the Southland, forcing the teams to hit indoors. Any weather delay is a rarity in sunny Southern California, but the game went on as planned with a game-time temperature of 63 degrees. Wilson wore sleeves. “The wind was blowing, so the two-seamer was dipping,” he said with a smile. “The sleeves were a power move on my part.”
Angels: Wilson got roughly two hours of treatment each day on his elbow, and he’ll get an extra day off before his next start due to the Angels’ off day on Monday.
Rangers: Nick Martinez (2-0, 0.45) brings his microscopic ERA into his fourth start of 2015.
Angels: Hector Santiago (2-1, 2.45) goes after his third straight victory.
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