ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Tyler Skaggs pitched six scoreless innings of four-hit ball and Justin Upton homered in the Los Angeles Angels’ 3-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Sunday.
Luis Valbuena had an early two-run double as the Angels managed only four hits, but took two of three from their AL West rivals in the weekend series with three consecutive strong starts from their rotation.
Skaggs (4-4) ended his six-start winless skid despite laboring for long stretches of his six innings. The left-hander needed 70 pitches to get through the first three innings alone, but still managed to keep the Rangers scoreless while walking three and striking out six.
Nomar Mazara homered in the eighth inning and Shin-Soo Choo had two doubles while reaching base in his 20th consecutive game for the last-place Rangers, who went 3-4 on their road trip.
One day after the Angels’ inconsistent bullpen wasted a stellar start by Garrett Richards in a 10-inning loss, three Los Angeles relievers nearly did it again.
After Noe Ramirez gave up Mazara’s homer in the eighth, Justin Anderson got two outs in the ninth before walking three consecutive Rangers — all three on borderline pitches that didn’t persuade home plate umpire Chris Conroy.
But Anderson finally got Isiah Kiner-Falefa to pop out, ending his second save.
Doug Fister (1-6) provided another solid, innings-eating start for the Rangers, giving up four hits and three runs in six innings.
The Angels went up 2-0 in the second inning when Shohei Ohtani and Zack Cozart doubled and Valbuena drove them home. After yielding those three consecutive hits, Fister retired the next 13 Angels in order.
Upton interrupted Fister’s roll with a solo homer to right. The shot was his 12th of the season, but the veteran slugger’s first in 16 games since May 15.
Mazara got the Rangers on the board in the eighth with his 14th homer.
Mike Trout went 0 for 3, ending his six-game hitting streak. The center fielder also appeared to be shaken up after running into the wall while catching Delino DeShields’ long drive in the fifth inning. Trout stood with his hands on his knees for a long moment, but stayed in the game.
Ohtani began the Angels’ rally in the second inning when he singled for just his second hit since May 24. He is scheduled to pitch Wednesday against Kansas City on his usual once-a-week mound schedule. The Angels gave extra rest time to their two-way rookie before his last start in Detroit.
Rangers: LHP Martin Perez threw another bullpen session. He is on the disabled list with nerve inflammation in his right arm.
Angels: Cozart returned from a four-game absence with a strained left forearm. The Angels’ regular third baseman played shortstop, his former position in Cincinnati, to give a rest day to Andrelton Simmons, who had missed only two previous games all season.
Rangers: After a day off, Matt Moore (1-5, 7.85 ERA) looks for a turnaround start when Texas opens a two-game home series with Oakland.
Angels: Nick Tropeano (3-3, 3.80 ERA) takes the Big A mound Monday in the opener of a three-game series with Kansas City. The right-hander has capably filled a gap in Los Angeles’ rotation, and he will attempt to win three straight starts for the first time in his big-league career.
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