ANAHEIM (AP) — Alex Rios homered in the first inning and drove in the go-ahead run with a bloop double in the seventh, Elvis Andrus also had two RBIs, and the Texas Rangers beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-3 on Sunday.
The Rangers remained 1 1-2 games out of first place in the AL West, as Oakland beat Houston 7-2 to complete a three-game sweep.
Angels rookie Buddy Boshers walked Leonys Martin with one out in the seventh and Ian Kinsler greeted Michael Kohn (1-2) with a ground-rule double into the left field corner.
Andrus followed with a looper into right-center and was robbed of a hit on a diving catch by right fielder Kole Calhoun, but Martin scored the tying run on the sacrifice fly. Center fielder Mike Trout then attempted a diving catch on another Texas leaguer by Rios in left-center, but missed it as Kinsler scored.
Alexi Ogando (6-4) got the victory with 1 1-3 scoreless innings of one-hit relief.
Neal Cotts gave up a leadoff double in the eighth to Calhoun, who was stranded at third when Tanner Scheppers struck out Hank Conger with the infield in and retired Grant Green on a flyball to center. Joe Nathan, the seventh Rangers pitcher, got three outs in the ninth for his 39th save in 41 attempts and helped them avoid what would have been the Angels’ first three-game sweep against them since September 2009.
Rangers rookie Nick Tepesch was charged with two runs and four hits in 3 1-3 innings and struck out five in his first start off the disabled list, after pitching 3 1-3 innings out of the bullpen at Oakland last Monday in his first relief outing in the big leagues. The 24-year-old right-hander was winless in eight consecutive starts before beating Houston on July 5, then was sidelined with inflammation in his elbow.
Tepesch was lifted by manager Ron Washington after 63 pitches with a runner at first and the score tied 1-all. Mark Trumbo was held at third on Conger’s double to left field, and subsequently erased in a rundown on Green’s fielder’s choice grounder to third baseman Adrian Beltre. But No.9 hitter Andrew Romine lined the next pitch down the left field line for a two-run double that put the Angels ahead 3-1.
The Rangers got one of the runs back in the fifth on an Andrus’ RBI single against Jason Vargas, who allowed two runs and six hits over six innings and struck out eight. The left-hander, whose three two starts against Texas this season all have resulted in no-decisions, is 2-2 with a 4.09 ERA in six outings since coming off the disabled list.
Rios, the third batter Vargas faced, homered to left-center for his 16th this season and fourth against the Halos. Kole Calhoun tied it with his sixth of the season leading off the second.
The Rangers made a bid to regain the lead in the third, but Vargas stranded Martin at third base after striking out Andrus and Beltre around an unintentional walk to Rios.