ANAHEIM (AP) — The Texas Rangers were glad to see their eight-game road trip end with a victory after three straight losses, although Nick Martinez was sorry to see his dominant month of April come to an end.
Leonys Martin led off the 11th inning with a homer, and the Rangers scored another run on Erick Aybar’s error before holding on for a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday.
“We had a couple of tough ones in this series. So to be able to scratch that one out and grind it out to the end and take a win home to start the homestand is going to be nice,” first baseman Mitch Moreland said. “We did a good job today of creating opportunities and we finally got a few across.”
Jose Alvarez (0-1), working his second inning of relief, fell behind Martin 3-0 before the Rangers’ leadoff hitter drove a full-count pitch barely over the 18-foot wall in right field for his first homer of the season and 16th in 1,121 big league at-bats.
“It was nice to see Leonys get the ball up in the air and out of the ballpark, and nice to see that these guys’ efforts were rewarded today,” manager Jeff Banister said. “It should give us some confidence.”
Shortly after Martin’s homer, Aybar misplayed a grounder in the hole by Elvis Andrus for his second error of the game. The Angels got a run in the bottom half on Aybar’s RBI single before Rangers closer Neftali Feliz threw a called third strike past Grant Green to end it.
Feliz (1-1) pitched two innings for the victory.
Reigning AL MVP Mike Trout tied the score 2-all in the seventh with a two-run homer against reliever Anthony Bass. Johnny Giavotella put the Angels ahead in the eighth with a bases-loaded RBI single off Shawn Tolleson after C.J. Cron singled for his fourth straight hit, Matt Joyce singled to snap a career-worst 0-for-26 drought, and Chris Iannetta walked.
Joe Smith came on in the ninth for his first save opportunity of the season, as manager Mike Scioscia rested Huston Street. Smith retired his first two batters before giving up three consecutive singles, including a tying hit to right field by Mitch Moreland.
“We had Joe Smith on the mound, and that’s our go-to guy,” Angels right fielder Kole Calhoun said. “He gave up one today, but that’s the way the game rolls sometimes.”
Martinez scattered seven hits, struck out two, walked two and escaped a bases-loaded jam in the third. The right-hander finished April with a 0.35 ERA, allowing one earned run in 26 innings. It broke the previous Texas club record for lowest ERA through the end of April by a pitcher with 25 or more innings, which was held by Rick Honeycutt with a 0.72 figure in 1983.
“It’s been a good month, but it’s only April and I’ve got to carry it on,” Martinez said. “The ultimate goal is to finish strong and help this team get to the playoffs.
Angels lefty Hector Santiago allowed two runs — one earned — and four hits through 5 1-3 innings. He had four strikeouts and six walks, matching his total from his first three starts this season combined.
Santiago retired his first two batters in the second before giving up an unearned run. Aybar dropped a popup by Shin-Soo Choo after a single by Andrus, putting runners at the corners. Carlos Corporan walked on a full count, loading the bases, and No. 9 hitter Rougned Odor was hit with a 2-0 pitch to force in the game’s first run.
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