ANAHEIM, Calif. -- It was a play Ian Kinsler makes easily nearly every time he has the chance. But when Maicer Izturis' seemingly routine ground ball went toward Kinsler's glove for a possible inning-ending out in the seventh, Kinsler bobbled and dropped it.
That loaded the bases for the streaking Mike Trout, who was able to muscle a ball to center off reliever Alexi Ogando to score two runs and turn a tie game into a 4-2 Angels lead. Los Angeles held on for the victory, closing the gap with the Rangers to 4 1/2 games.
"I misplayed it and dropped the ball," Kinsler said. "There's not much else to it. It's part of baseball."
Kinsler did not blame the mistake on the fact that he was thinking about the speed of Izturis or anything else.
"I kind of played myself into that hop," Kinsler said. "A lot of times out of a lot of times I catch that ball. It didn't bounce our way tonight."
That's true. The Rangers had some early chances to increase a 2-0 lead, but couldn't string enough hits together. Mitch Moreland hit into double plays in the second and fourth to end threats. The Rangers had a runner in scoring position with one out in the third with Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre coming up and couldn't score him.
An error by Alberto Callaspo put Nelson Cruz on base with no one out in the seventh, but those bounces Kinsler talked about didn't help then, either. Kinsler hit a double down the left field line, but it bounced into the seats, preventing Cruz from trying to score. He was stranded when Trout made a terrific running catch in deep center to retire Elvis Andrus, who hit the ball probably as hard as he could.
"We had a couple of chances to get a better lead and didn't do it," Beltre said. "That happens. We'll come back tomorrow and try to win the series."
The seventh inning is what altered things. Starter Colby Lewis got the first two outs and had the bottom three hitters in the Angels lineup in 0-2 holes, but couldn't retire them.
"We just couldn't finish there," manager Ron Washington said.
Lewis gave up a single to Howie Kendrick on an 0-2 fastball. He then got ahead 0-2 on Erick Aybar.
"I tried to come inside and jerked a fastball," said a frustrated Lewis. "I was trying to get him out. I ended up jerking it and hit him in the butt."
The hit-by-pitch put two runners on and ended Lewis' outing. Ogando got the ground ball he needed, but not the out on Kinsler's error.
The loss drops the Rangers lead to 4 1/2 games ahead of the hard-charging Angels with two games left in this three-game series.
"There's no panic here," Washington said. "We'll come out tomorrow and play just as hard tomorrow as we did tonight."