The Texas Rangers ' struggles at the plate have their usually mild-mannered manager Ron Washington steaming, while the Los Angeles Angels ' offense may be without one of its top sluggers for the remainder of the season.
Texas (56-49) has lost 12 of 15 and is six games back of first-place Oakland in the AL West. It fell 1-0 on Saturday and 6-0 on Sunday, tying a season worst with two hits in the finale as Cleveland swept the three-game set.
The Rangers' 21-inning scoreless streak is their longest since going 25 without a run from Sept. 15-19, 2009, and they've been shut out in three of their last four games."I don't get frustrated, but I am a little upset," Washington said. "I need to get my guys going back down the yellow brick road."
Washington closed the clubhouse for 44 minutes after the game to hold a team meeting."We've been kind of up and down (with our effort) this year," said left fielder David Murphy , who is 2 for 14 over his last six games. "After the meeting, I think everyone is on the same page now and we can get back on track."
The Angels (48-55) will be looking to do the same after dropping the final three of their four-game series with Oakland. They fell 10-6 on Sunday after Albert Pujols was placed on the 15-day disabled list with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, which has plagued him for most of 2013.
Manager Mike Scioscia said Pujols could miss the rest of the season.
"This is a big blow to our team right now," Scioscia said. "We have to move forward and find a way to generate offense that will support the good pitching that we need. It's naturally something you would hope could have made it through to the offseason, but it didn't happen and you just have to move on."
Weaver (5-5, 2.98 ERA) has supplied that solid pitching lately, going three of his last four starts without allowing a run. He struck out nine and gave up just two hits through eight innings of Wednesday's 1-0 win over Minnesota.
The right-hander is 4-1 with a 1.32 ERA over his last six outings, with four of his six runs allowed in that stretch coming in a loss to Seattle on July 13.
"You go about every game the same way regardless of if you've lost seven in a row or won seven in a row," Weaver said. "You go out there and battle and try to win games. That's your job as a starting pitcher."
Weaver struggled against the Rangers on April 7, giving up five runs and walking four in five innings of a 7-3 loss, ending his four-start winning streak versus Texas.
Garza (1-0, 0.00 ERA) has been just has hot, winning six straight starts while posting a 1.23 ERA after a dominant performance in his Rangers debut after being acquired from the Chicago Cubs . The right-hander allowed an unearned run and five hits over 7 1-3 innings to beat the New York Yankees 3-1 on Wednesday."I couldn't be more happy being in a place where I'm at, a place where I'm wanted, been wanted. It's awesome," Garza, who is 7-1 with a 2.87 ERA in 12 overall starts, said after that outing.
Garza faced the Angels for the first time in more than three years while with the Cubs on June 5, allowing four runs - including a two-run homer to Howie Kendrick - in 6 1-3 innings of Chicago's 8-6, 10-inning victory. He's 0-1 with a 5.83 ERA in five career starts versus Los Angeles.
Kendrick is 5 for 6 lifetime off Garza, while Elvis Andrus is hitting .371 with two homers versus Weaver.
|Los Angeles Angels|
|July 27, 2013||Albert Pujols||15-Day DL||Plantar fasciitis|
|July 27, 2013||Albert Pujols||Day-to-Day||Plantar fasciitis|
|June 30, 2013||Peter Bourjos||15-Day DL||Nondisplaced bone fracture, right wrist|
|June 29, 2013||Peter Bourjos||Day-to-Day||Left game - right wrist|
|June 23, 2013||Peter Bourjos||Day-to-Day||Left game - left thumb injury|
|June 21, 2013||Tommy Hanson||15-Day DL||Strained right forearm|
|July 12, 2013||Justin Grimm||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right forearm|
|July 07, 2013||Yu Darvish||15-Day DL||Upper back strain|
|July 07, 2013||Lance Berkman||15-Day DL||Left hip inflammation|
|July 07, 2013||Yu Darvish||15-Day DL||Upper back strain|
|July 06, 2013||Nick Tepesch||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|June 21, 2013||Craig Gentry||15-Day DL||Fractured left hand|
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Geovany Soto kept anxiously watching the ball as he trotted out of the batter's box. Finally, when it landed in the left-field seats, he thrust his right arm triumphantly into the air and set off quite a celebration for the Texas Rangers .
Soto's game-ending home run, after fellow catcher A.J. Pierzynski had already gone deep in the ninth off Los Angeles Angels closer Ernesto Frieri , gave the Rangers a 4-3 victory Monday night. That snapped a four-game losing streak in which they struggled to score runs.
"I was hoping it would stay fair," Soto said. "I'm the happiest guy."
When Soto got back to the plate, he was mobbed by teammates and got a huge hug for Rangers manager Ron Washington .
Pierzynski led off the ninth by pulling a pitch into the right-field seats, his 11th homer this season snapping a 4-for-27 slump and tying the game. Nelson Cruz followed with a single off Frieri (0-3) before David Murphy grounded into a double play. Soto, who entered the game hitting only .198 this season, then hit a towering flyball down the left-field line.
"You know, A.J. grind one out, Cruz grind one out. And then Murphy smoked that ball. That's just the way things have been going for him. He centers one and they turn a double play," Washington said. "But then Geo pulled us out for us. Had a great at-bat, that's what we needed."
In the Angels clubhouse after the game, Frieri sat silently at his locker for a few minutes, staring up toward the ceiling. Teammates and manager Mike Scioscia came by and patted him on the left shoulder.
The Angels, without slugger Albert Pujols for maybe the rest of the season, lost their fourth straight game and are 2-8 their last 10 road games.
"It's a tough situation. We've been struggling, and I just went out there and gave up the game. We needed that win," Frieri said. "It was a fastball (to Soto). Supposed to be down and away but it was middle-in and up. Every time I miss, I get hurt really bad."
Jason Frasor (1-2) pitched a scoreless ninth for Texas, three days after he gave up a game-ending homer in an 11-inning loss at Cleveland.
Texas had gone 26 innings without scoring a run, two short of the 41-year-old team record, until Ian Kinsler 's RBI single in the sixth to get the Rangers within 3-1. They had played 46 innings without leading a game until the second career game-ending homer for Soto, who was catching Matt Garza while Pierzynski got a night as the designated hitter.
"We needed that game after the offensive struggled we've been through the last few weeks," Pierzynski said. "To have a game like that, especially at home after the trip we came off, it's huge."
The Texas comeback spoiled another solid effort for Angels starter Jered Weaver , who allowed only one run with six strikeouts over seven innings. The right-hander has a 1.31 ERA (seven runs in 48 innings) his last seven starts.
Dane De La Rosa allowed an unearned run in his inning of relief before Frieri's third blown save in 28 chances.
J.B. Shuck hit his first major league homer for the Angels, who have lost four in a row. Josh Hamilton had a two-run single against his former team.
Garza struck out six and allowed three runs over seven innings in his second Texas start since getting traded. The right-hander had won six starts in a row, including his last five for the Chicago Cubs before a winning debut for the Rangers last Wednesday against the New York Yankees when the only run he allowed was unearned after his throwing error.
Weaver had retired 12 in a row before Leonys Martin , in the leadoff spot for the first time in his 124 major league games, had a drag bunt in the sixth. The pitcher fielded the ball along the first-base line, but didn't even attempt a throw since Martin had already run past him.
Martin got to second when Elvis Andrus unsuccessfully tried to bunt for a hit. Ian Kinsler , who went to No. 3 in the order with Martin leading off, followed with an RBI single for the first Texas run in three games, and also ended a scoreless streak of 19 2-3 innings for Weaver.
Andrus extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a single in the eighth, then stole second, went to third on catcher Hank Conger 's throwing error and scored on Kinsler's sac fly.
Shuck homered in the fifth in his 323rd career at-bat and 115th game. Later that inning, Erick Aybar drew a walk and Mike Trout had a two-out double before both scored on Hamilton's opposite-field grounder to left made it 3-0.
"It's a little frustrating. This was probably one of the best I've thrown the ball in Texas," Weaver said. "No lead is safe here, and obviously that was the case tonight."
NOTES: Weaver is 15-2 with a 1.72 ERA in July games since 2011. ... The Rangers second ended on a 6-4-3 grounder - for one out, not the double play usually associated with that sequence. Soto hit a grounder that SS Aybar fielded in the hole and threw to second base, where runner Cruz had already reached. But 2B Howie Kendrick still had plenty of time to get Soto out at first. ... Angels left-hander C.J. Wilson, 7-1 with a 1.96 ERA his last eight starts, is scheduled to start against his former team Tuesday night. He is 0-2 with a 7.65 ERA in five starts against the Rangers, all last season.