They'll need Derek Holland to reverse his fortunes against the Angels on Saturday night for the Rangers to avoid losing their first series with Los Angeles this year.
Texas (80-60) held a one-half game edge in the AL West but now trails Oakland by the same margin after a 6-5 loss at Angel Stadium on Friday. The Rangers squandered a 3-0 lead after three innings and wasted a chance for a franchise-record eighth straight victory against Los Angeles.
Holland (9-7, 3.07 ERA) is 2-2 with a 6.50 ERA in seven starts versus the Angels since the start of last season, surrendering 11 home runs over 45 2-3 innings.
The left-hander has had a particularly tough time against Mike Trout , who is 9 for 22 (.409) off Holland with two homers, two doubles, and five walks. Trout also owns a .549 on-base percentage over his last 12 games and was 3 for 4 Friday.
Texas would love to see Holland cut down on walks after he issued a season high-tying five over 4 2-3 innings of a 4-2 loss at Oakland on Monday. He's averaging 5.16 walks per nine innings over his last five starts compared to a 2.97 rate on the season.
"Five walks is not acceptable," Holland said after allowing four runs and five hits to the Athletics. "There's no reason for it. I didn't execute my pitches. It was all around terrible by me."
Holland will look to keep Mark Trumbo in the yard after he connected for his 30th home run with a three-run shot Friday as the Angels (66-74) won for the 11th time in 14 games. Trumbo is the sixth player in franchise history with back-to-back 30 homer seasons and has taken Holland deep three times in 33 at-bats.
"Any time a team has beaten you up a little bit, that feeling can linger," Trumbo said of the Rangers, who have won 15 of the last 21 meetings, including seven of nine at Angel Stadium. "It feels good to get one back."
Los Angeles will turn to Garrett Richards , who is 3-2 with a 3.21 ERA in eight starts since becoming a full-time member of the Angels' rotation on July 27.
Like Holland, Richards (5-6, 4.06) also battled control issues his last time out. He recorded a victory despite issuing seven walks - tied for the second-most in baseball this year - over five innings while yielding two hits and a run in an 11-2 final over Tampa Bay on Monday.
Richards had walked a total of seven batters over his previous five outings.
"He never really got command of counts," manager Mike Scioscia said. "His ball-strike ratio was very poor and his first pitch strike ratio was bad. He couldn't really get his secondary pitches into the game - but when it's all said and done, it's a win for us, and hopefully he'll take that and learn for next time."
Richards hasn't recorded a decision in four career starts versus Texas while posting a 4.67 ERA. He allowed three runs and six hits in six innings of an 8-3 loss to the Rangers on Aug. 6.
Ian Kinsler was 2 for 5 Friday after going 4 for 26 over his previous six contests, but struck out to end the game with the tying run on first.
|August 25, 2013||Leonys Martin||Day-to-Day||Sprained right ankle|
|August 20, 2013||Matt West||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|August 14, 2013||Alexi Ogando||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|August 14, 2013||Alexi Ogando||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|August 03, 2013||Nelson Cruz||Day-to-Day||Lower body|
|July 12, 2013||Justin Grimm||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right forearm|
|Los Angeles Angels|
|August 29, 2013||Chris Nelson||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|August 28, 2013||Chris Nelson||Day-to-Day||Strained right hamstring|
|August 22, 2013||Kevin Jepsen||15-Day DL||Appendectomy|
|August 19, 2013||Mike Trout||Day-to-Day||Tight right hamstring|
|August 13, 2013||Erick Aybar||Day-to-Day||Left calf cramp|
|August 06, 2013||Howie Kendrick||15-Day DL||Sprained left knee|
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- The Texas Rangers know they have their work cut out for themselves if they want to wrestle the AL West title away from the defending division champion Oakland Athletics . And the Los Angeles Angels aren't making it any easier for them.
Garrett Richards pitched seven effective innings, and the Angels parlayed three errors and another mammoth home run by Mark Trumbo into five early runs against Derek Holland to beat Texas 8-3 Saturday night. The Rangers' fifth loss in six games, coupled with Oakland's 2-1 victory against Houston, put them 1 1-2 games behind the Athletics with 21 remaining.
"Their job is to try to spoil us from getting to the playoffs," Holland said. "But no matter who we play, it's going to be tough. I don't care if it's the Angels or whoever you want to throw out there. There's not going to be an easy game from here on out, whether they're a first-place team or a last-place team. We're all competing to get somewhere, and other teams are trying to knock us out."
The Angels are 14 1-2 games out of first place despite winning 12 of their last 15 games. And despite the fact that they will miss the postseason for the fourth straight year, they will definitely have a say in the outcome of the division race. The final week of their schedule includes a three-game series at home against Oakland, followed by a four-game set at Texas.
"They're a good team over there, but we're playing good ball right now and every day is a new opportunity to get another W, get some momentum for next year and knock some teams out," Mike Trout said.
"If we were playing this kind of ball in April, it would have been a different story now and down the road. But it's been one of those years. If you look at our lineup now compared to April, it's two different teams. Guys have come up from the minors and are getting an opportunity to play. We're playing together, pitching great and having some fun."
Richards (6-6) allowed two runs - one earned - and six hits while striking out five and walking one. The right-hander, who finished his night by fanning the side, is 4-0 with a 3.25 ERA in seven starts at home this season.
Holland (9-8) was charged with eight runs - four earned - and eight hits in 5 2-3 innings. He struck out four and walked one in his sixth attempt to join Kenny Rogers as the only left-handers in the history of the Rangers/Washington Senators franchise with double-digit victories in three consecutive seasons.
"I didn't pitch very well, and I'm very disappointed at the way that I performed," Holland said. "I know I'm a better pitcher than I have been performing like for the last two or three outings. I'm very frustrated with the way things turned out."
Holland, whose last victory was Aug. 4 at Oakland, gave up unearned runs in the first two innings. The Angels took a 3-1 lead in the first after Holland fielded a dribbler toward the first base line by leadoff man J.B. Shuck and committed a two-base throwing error.
Shuck advanced on Erick Aybar 's sacrifice bunt and scored when four-time Gold Glove third baseman Adrian Beltre misplayed Trout's slow bouncer for his 13th error. Trumbo drove the next pitch to center field for his 31st homer and second in two nights, following a drought of 57 at-bats without one.
"He's having an awesome year," Trout said. "He's learning a lot of new things this year and making adjustments at the plate. He went through a couple of stretches where he was pressing a little bit, but he's back to being Trumbo and every at bat you look at him and he's got a chance to launch one. So it's fun to watch."
The Angels blew the game open in the sixth with three more runs that chased Holland.
Texas catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who ended the scoring with a leadoff homer in the ninth against Cory Rasmus .
NOTES: Trumbo is batting .235 with 20 games remaining. The lowest average by any Angels player who hit at least 30 homers in a season was by 3B Troy Glaus , who batted .250 with 41 homers in 2001 and .250 with 30 homers in 2002. ... Trumbo's homer was the 17th allowed by Holland, who set a Rangers club record for lefties last season by giving up 32. ... Rangers manager Ron Washington flip-flopped Leonys Martin and rookie Jurickson Profar in the batting order, putting Profar in the leadoff spot and batting the struggling Martin ninth to take some pressure off him. The move produced a run in the second inning as Martin singled with two out, stole second and scored on Profar's single.