ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Adrian Beltre homered, Martin Perez pitched into the seventh inning, and the Texas Rangers beat the Los Angeles Angels 5-2 Monday night after losing All-Star outfielder Nelson Cruz to a 50-game suspension.
Jurickson Profar had a run-scoring hit for Texas, which has won seven of eight to move within two games of AL West leader Oakland.
After Cruz spoke about his doping suspension in a pregame meeting, the Rangers uniformly stood behind their longtime teammate. David Murphy took over in right field for Cruz, scoring two runs but also misplaying two balls.
Elvis Andrus got credit for a two-run triple in the fifth inning when Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick hyperextended his left knee while failing to catch Andrus’ popup to the outfield.
Los Angeles loaded the bases in the seventh and eighth innings, but the Texas bullpen escaped the jams both times on well-hit flyouts to right field.
Joe Nathan then pitched the ninth for his 33rd save.
Mark Trumbo and Colin Cowgill drove in runs for the Angels, who have lost eight of 10 to Texas this season.
Texas got off to a solid start in its life without Cruz, the Rangers’ leader with 27 homers and 76 RBIs — including his homer in Sunday’s victory in Oakland. After he spoke to his teammates in the Angel Stadium clubhouse, the Rangers uniformly expressed support for the likable outfielder, saying they would welcome him back for the postseason.
“It’s disappointing,” said second baseman Ian Kinsler, Cruz’s longtime teammate. “But at the same time, we all love Nelson, and we’re going to support him through this, help him get through this. He’s serving the suspension like he should, and we’re going to help him go on with this.”
The Rangers then went right back to work beating up on the Angels. Texas won three straight over Los Angeles with game-ending homers last week in Arlington.
They needed no such heroics after steady work by Perez (4-3), who limited the Angels to four hits and two runs, striking out seven in his first victory in five starts.
Jerome Williams (5-8) yielded six hits and five runs while pitching into the sixth inning of his ninth straight winless start for the Angels.
Trumbo doubled home Mike Trout with the Angels’ first run in the first inning when Murphy — Cruz’s replacement in right field — overran a catchable fly in the corner, allowing it to bounce next to him.
Williams was largely in control until the fifth, when Texas scored a run on a wild pitch and loaded the bases with one out. Andrus’ two-out pop to shallow right field should have been caught, but Kendrick and Cowgill both converged on the ball — and Kendrick lost it from his glove when he stepped awkwardly with his left leg while trying to avoid the sliding Cowgill.
Kendrick stayed down for a long moment before the Angels’ medical staff helped him off the field.
The Rangers chased Williams in the sixth shortly after Beltre’s 24th homer. Profar put reliever Michael Kohn’s first pitch into left field for an RBI single and a 5-1 lead.
Los Angeles loaded the bases in the seventh with Erick Aybar’s double and two walks to chase Perez, but reliever Jason Frasor limited the Angels to one run, retiring pinch-hitter Kole Calhoun on a liner to right. Neal Cotts escaped another bases-loaded jam in the eighth after Murphy dropped a sliding catch in right, getting J.B. Shuck to fly out to the warning track.
The Rangers recalled outfielders Joey Butler and Engel Beltre from the minors before the game, filling Cruz’s roster spot and designating infielder Adam Rosales for assignment.
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