After breaking out of their slump against one of baseball's hottest pitchers, the Texas Rangers appear poised to continue their turnaround when they face one of the coldest.
Following a two-run, ninth-inning rally to win the opener, Texas (58-49) had another thrilling win Tuesday by tying the game in the ninth and winning it 14-11 on a walk-off, three-run homer by Leonys Martin in the 10th.
The Rangers broke through with six runs and 11 hits in four innings off Angels starter C.J. Wilson, who had won seven of his previous eight starts. The slumbering lineup had averaged 2.5 runs and batted .234 over the team's prior 16 contests.
Adrian Beltre had three hits and two RBIs Tuesday, leaving him 9 for 21 in his last five games against the Angels. Geovany Soto has homered in both games of this set and is 5 for 11 in the season series."They committed themselves to each other to try to finish as strong as we possibly can," manager Ron Washington said. "We have two games that were very exciting."
Washington's club will try to continue that production against Williams (5-7, 4.85 ERA), whose 8.90 ERA since June 22 is the highest in the majors for any pitcher with at least five starts.
The right-hander dropped to 0-5 during a seven-start winless stretch after yielding four runs and six hits over five innings in a 6-4 loss at Oakland on Friday.
Williams pitched seven innings and allowed two runs in a 4-2 home win over the Rangers on June 1, 2012. He hasn't yielded a hit against them over five scoreless innings of relief this season.
Beltre has had success in this matchup, going 8 for 18 with a home run, double and four RBIs, while Nelson Cruz is 9 for 15 with three homers and nine RBIs.
Teammate Elvis Andrus is batting .341 during a 12-game hitting streak, but he's 2 for 15 lifetime versus Williams.
Texas left-hander Martin Perez (3-3, 4.37) will try to help send Los Angeles (48-57) to its first six-game losing streak since June 4-10, 2011.
Perez was tagged for a career-worst seven runs - six earned - and eight hits over three-plus innings in an 11-8, 11-inning loss at Cleveland on Friday. He's 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA in his last three outings.
This will be the first start against the Angels for Perez, who allowed two hits in one scoreless inning of relief against them in a 6-2 loss July 31, 2012.
That's an area where Los Angeles has struggled in this series. Closer Ernesto Frieri had converted 25 of 27 saves before consecutive blown chances in Texas."I never went through this," Frieri said. "I don't know what to do. We're very frustrated."
After going 6 for 6 with two doubles and four walks in the two games, All-Star Mike Trout is hitting .385 with six homers and 14 RBIs in 17 career games in Arlington.
Former Ranger Josh Hamilton is 4 for 9 with six RBIs in the series and 13 for 26 in his last six against his old club.
|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) -- Adrian Beltre tossed off his batting helmet, covered his head with both hands and jumped into the middle of what has been a common scene this week for the Texas Rangers .
Beltre even came out of the celebration at home plate with his shirt hanging around his waist.
The homer by Beltre leading off the ninth gave the Rangers a 2-1 victory Wednesday night over the Los Angeles Angels , completing a three-game series sweep in which Texas won each on game-ending home runs.
"Being able to walk off three times in a row, and our offense has been the reason why we struggled the last few weeks, and our offense is getting a lot better," Beltre said.
"And it starts with me. I haven't been swinging the bat real well, hitting in the middle of the lineup and not doing my job, but the last couple of games have been better and hopefully it creates that for everybody."
There was no doubt about another dramatic victory for the Rangers when Michael Kohn (1-1) left a 2-2 pitch over the middle of the plate. Beltre hit it deep into the left-field seats for his 23rd homer.
"It was supposed to be down and away, but I left it middle in," said Kohn, who didn't even have to turn around to know the ball was going over the wall.
Texas had been shut out in three of its previous four games, and swept at Cleveland last weekend, before having three consecutive games end on homers for the first time in team history.
"It's overwhelming really," manager Ron Washington said. "We just kept battling, and you know when we're at our best, this is what you get. Not three walk-off home runs, but the different people getting it done. And that's what we need, is different people getting it done."
Texas won the series opener Monday night when A.J. Pierzynski and Geovany Soto both homered in the ninth inning off Angels closer Ernesto Frieri , Soto's blast providing a 4-3 victory. Then on Tuesday, after trailing four times, the Rangers again scored in the ninth off Frieri and won 14-11 after Leonys Martin hit a three-run homer in the 10th.
According to Elias, the last team to win three consecutive games with game-ending homers was Detroit in June 2004. The last to sweep a three-game series in that fashion was Arizona over Montreal in May 1999.
Nelson Cruz also homered Wednesday night for the Rangers, his 25th making it 1-0 in the second.
Josh Hamilton connected for the only Angels run, a 422-foot blast to right-center in the seventh. His 16th homer tied the game.
Rangers closer Joe Nathan (3-1) struck out two and walked one in the top of the ninth to win for the second night in a row. He had last won consecutive games in August. 2005.
Jerome Williams of the Angels and rookie Martin Perez for Texas, the starting pitchers, each allowed only one run while pitching into the eighth. Both had been struggling before their duel.
"We're not looking back on all three. We're just looking back at tonight," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We didn't do enough to support Jerome, who really pitched well. Unfortunately, Perez outpitched him."
Williams scattered eight hits over 7 2-3 innings with two walks and one strikeout. The right-hander, who had an 8.90 ERA and five losses his previous seven starts, left with two on in the eighth, when Kohn got Ian Kinsler on an inning-ending flyball.
Perez had allowed at least four earned runs in three consecutive starts. The lefty struck out four, walked two and allowed only four hits in 7 1-3 innings before Tanner Scheppers closed out the eighth.
Cruz is among several players waiting to find out if they will be suspended by Major League Baseball in its investigation related to the Biogenesis case. Discipline is expected to be announced by the end of the weekend, which means Thursday's makeup at home against Arizona could be his last home game for the Rangers, depending on the timing and length of any suspension.
The All-Star right fielder, who is eligible for free agency after the season, leads the Rangers with 25 homers and 73 RBIs.
"Very impressed," Washington said. "He's been a model citizen, to be going through what's he going through and able to do (what he's doing). ... He's been very good leaving whatever issue he has on the outside, and you've got to commend him for that."
Notes: The game took only 2 hours, 30 minutes to play. A night earlier, it took 4 hours, 46 minutes for 10 innings. ... The Rangers' game against Arizona on Thursday is the makeup of a May 29 game that was postponed because of unplayable field conditions after the grounds crew was unable to get the tarp in place during a severe thunderstorm before the game. ... Martin and Elvis Andrus had consecutive hits to start the Rangers first, but both were retired on the bases. Martin was thrown out trying to go to third on a single by Andrus, who then picked off at first base by catcher Chris Iannetta . Andrus' 13-game hitting streak is the longest active in the majors.