Rapid Reaction: Rangers 8, Angels 3

ANAHEIM, Calif. –- The Texas Rangers continued their climb up the American League West standings with their eighth win in the past nine games.

They are now only one game back of the division-leading Oakland A’s.

The Rangers’ hot streak, which includes four wins in five nights to begin a 10-game road trip, coincides with a cold spell for the A’s. Oakland suffered its fifth loss in six games in Cincinnati earlier Tuesday night.

After not gaining any ground in the AL West standings for 32 straight days, the Rangers have chewed up five games of Oakland’s lead since July 29, moving from six games back to within breathing distance.

Runnin’ Rangers: Leonys Martin and Elvis Andrus combined for five stolen bases, and their legs led to runs on three occasions.

Martin stole second three times, putting him in position to score runs in the first and ninth innings. Andrus, whose RBI single drove in Martin in the ninth, stole second twice and scored the go-ahead run on an Adrian Beltre single in the eighth inning.

Andrus ranks fourth in the American League with 27 stolen bases. Martin is tied for eighth with 23.

Craig Gentry added his 11th stolen base in the top of the ninth, putting him in position to score an insurance run and sparking the four-run frame.

Bullpen beauty: Tanner Scheppers extended a dominant run for Rangers relievers with a pair of scoreless innings. The Texas bullpen has allowed one run over 14 1/3 innings in the past six games and hasn’t allowed a run in 19 of the past 26 games (1.98 ERA in that span).

Scheppers needed only six pitches to get through a perfect eighth inning. He picked up his second career save with a one-hit ninth.

On the other hand, the Angels' bullpen imploded again, allowing five runs in the final two innings.

Darvish scuffles: This was far from the dazzling performances Yu Darvish had in his previous two starts, when he had a total of 25 strikeouts while allowing only eight hits and one walk in 13 innings. Darvish allowed a season-high eight hits and walked three against the Angels, giving up three earned runs. But he battled for seven innings and earned his 11th win.

Darvish allowed only one run after giving up back-to-back home runs to the Angels’ first two batters. He consistently managed to get out of trouble despite not having electrifying stuff, stranding 10 runners.

Hamilton’s anti-heroics: Ex-Ranger Josh Hamilton heard scattered boos from the home crowd during his 0-for-4 performance.

Hamilton had two weak, swinging strikeouts against Darvish. He also had a routine fly ball to end the seventh inning with runners on first and third, letting Darvish exit with the score tied.

Hamilton’s averaged dipped to .219.

First-inning fight: The back-to-back homers by Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout, the Angels’ first two batters, increased Darvish’s total of first-inning runs allowed to 14 this season. He has not allowed more than 10 runs in any other inning.

The only run Darvish allowed in his previous three starts was a leadoff homer by Michael Bourn in a 1-0 loss to Cleveland on July 27.

This was the first time Darvish allowed two homers in an inning as a major leaguer. Trout’s opposite-field shot was his third career homer off Darvish, the most by any player.

Martin snaps out of slump: New leadoff hitter Leonys Martin snapped an 11 at-bat hitless skid with his single up the middle to start the game. It didn’t take Martin long to get another hit, as he beat out an infield single his next at-bat.

Martin, who stole three bases, scored in the first and had a game-tying RBI groundout in the fifth.

Jurickson’s web gem: Rookie Jurickson Profar, who has played every infield position except first base in the past week, made a spectacular play to rob Trout of a base hit in the third inning. Playing second base, Profar made a fully extended, leaping back-handed grab of a screaming line drive, prompting shortstop Elvis Andrus to make a motion that resembled a Superman impression.

Profar made another impressive play in the fifth, ranging far to his left to make a sliding stop of a ground ball on the lip of the outfield grass, getting up and throwing out leadoff hitter Calhoun.

Up next: Texas’ Alexi Ogando (4-3, 3.26 ERA) and Los Angeles’ Tommy Hanson (4-2, 5.29 ERA) are the scheduled starters as the Rangers try to complete the series sweep.