ANAHEIM (AP) — Albert Pujols and Bobby Wilson homered, and Mike Trout scored a run in his 14th consecutive game to set an AL rookie record, leading the Los Angeles Angels to a 7-4 victory over the Texas Rangers on Sunday night to win the three-game series.
Dan Haren pitched effectively in his first start off the disabled list for the two-time defending AL champion Rangers who ended their road trip 4-4, while their lead over the Angels in the AL West was reduced to five games. The teams play each other 10 more times during the regular season, including a four-game series at Texas beginning July 30.
Haren (7-8) threw 95 pitches over six innings, allowing two runs, three hits and three walks while striking out three.
The three-time All-Star, whose streak of 254 consecutive starts ended because of tightness in his lower back after his outing on July 3, had to contort himself to get out of the way of a vicious line-drive single by Michael Young that buzzed past his head with one out in the fourth.
Three pitches later, Nelson Cruz drove his 12th homer halfway up the batter’s eye in center field to cut Texas’ deficit to 3-2. It was Cruz’s first homer on the road since June 3 at Angel Stadium, when he hit a mammoth two-run shot to left-center against reliever Bobby Cassevah that was estimated at 484 feet and reached the championship flagpoles on the fly.
The Angels tacked on three runs in the seventh with Wilson’s first homer of the season and Pujols’ 18th, a two-run shot off Alexi Ogando that followed a single by Torii Hunter. Pujols’s 463rd career home run put him ahead of Jose Canseco for 32nd place all-time, and left him within 12 RBIs of joining Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Al Simmons as the only players in history to reach 1,400 in their first 12 seasons.
Angels closer Ernesto Frieri, in a non-save situation, relieved Scott Downs with one on and none out in the ninth after David Murphy reached on Downs’ throwing error. The right-hander walked two of his first three batters, loading the bases, and Elvis Andrus drove in a run with a sacrifice fly. But Frieri came back to strike out Josh Hamilton for the final out. Hamilton came up empty in four opportunities with runners in scoring position during the series, and is 0 for 15 this month in those situations.
Matt Harrison (12-5) gave up four runs and eight hits in six-plus innings after going the distance in his previous two starts, including a five-hit shutout last Sunday at Seattle. The left-hander, who departed after giving up Wilson’s leadoff homer in the seventh, was attempting to tie fellow All-Stars R.A. Dickey and David Price for the major league lead in victories and become the first Rangers pitcher with three consecutive complete games since Kenny Rogers in May 1994.
Trout eclipsed the previous AL record for runs scored by a rookie, shared by Jake Powell of the 1935 Washington Senators and Don Lenhardt of the 1950 St. Louis Browns. The 20-year-old outfielder also broke the Angels’ overall franchise mark for consecutive games with a run scored, which was established by Jim Edmonds in 1995.
The record-breaker came in the first inning, when Trout led off with a triple into the right-field corner and came home on Pujols’ ground-rule double into the left field corner. The Angels increased their lead to 3-0 in the second when Alberto Callaspo scored on a passed ball and Maicer Izturis came home on Wilson’s single.
Trout, who played in his first All-Star game less than two weeks ago, leads the majors in runs (70) and stolen bases (31), and is hitting an AL-best .355 – despite spending almost the entire first month of the season in the minors.
Downs gave up an RBI single to Young in the eighth, but Hunter got the run back in the bottom half with an RBI single.
NOTES: Rangers RHP Roy Oswalt was scratched from his scheduled start on Monday against Boston because of tightness in his lower back, and will be replaced by RHP Scott Feldman. … Angels RHP Ervin Santana, who was torched for six runs, eight hits and three homers in just 1 2-3 innings during Saturday’s 9-2 loss, will be placed on a 15-out leash by manager Mike Scioscia in his next start Friday night against Tampa Bay – even if he retires 15 in a row. Scioscia has used that same tactic over the years with several pitchers to get them out of a rut, including Scott Kazmir, Aaron Sele, Jarrod Washburn, and Ramon Ortiz. … Harrison has allowed three home runs over his last 13 starts and 61 2-3 innings and three of them have been hit by the Angels, including Mark Trumbo and John Hester. … Angels SS Erick Aybar, who fouled a ball off the big toe on his right foot on Saturday, didn’t play. As a result, the club promoted INF Jean Segura from Triple-A Salt Lake. RHP David Carpenter was optioned to Triple-A to free up a roster spot for Haren.