The Rangers' brutal start to September continued on Saturday night as the Los Angeles Angels took advantage of Texas fielding errors and more offensive futility for a 8-3 victory.
AL West race: The Rangers have handed off the lead in the American League West on this road trip and fallen 1½ games behind the Oakland A's. Texas has lost 2½ games since Wednesday, with poor starting pitching and sloppy defense have contributed to one of the worst stretches of the season for the Rangers. Texas is 1-4 on the trip and has lost six of its past eight games.
Another poor start: Derek Holland had his second ineffective start on the road trip. He got this six-game trip off to a bad beginning in Oakland and had an equally disappointing start Saturday, allowing eight runs -- four of them earned -- in 5⅔ innings. Holland was rocked for eight hits and gave up a devastating first-inning home run to Mark Trumbo as the Angels took an early 3-1 lead. Holland wasn't helped by the Rangers' defense but still didn't do what he needed to do to pitch around it.
Error-prone Rangers: Their defense has been great all season, but on Saturday night, the Rangers' glove work was a total letdown. The Rangers had three errors before the Angels' eighth batter in the game. There were two errors in the bottom of the first with the Rangers leading 1-0. Holland had a throwing error as Angels leadoff hitter J.B. Shuck reached second base. After Erick Aybar's sacrifice bunt, Adrian Beltre had a fielding error on Mike Trout's ground ball to tie the game at one. The Angels took advantage of the extra outs as Trumbo broke the tie with a home run.
Offense struggles, too: The Rangers once again did little with runners in scoring position, going 2-for-10 for the night. Ian Kinsler and Beltre combined to leave five runners on base.
Andrus stays hot: Elvis Andrus nearly hit his second home run in two nights when he belted a line drive off the base of the left-field wall in the eighth inning. He was 2-for-4 and has four hits in his past six at-bats entering Sunday. Andrus is batting .421 for his past nine games.
Pierzynski homers: Catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who is a disliked player in Anaheim, belted his 17th home run of the season in the top of the ninth.
Up next: The Rangers try avoid a disastrous three-game sweep to the Angels when right-hander Nick Tepesch (4-6, 4.67 ERA) starts for the first time since July 5. He'll be faced by Angels left-hander Jason Vargas (8-6, 3.80) at 2:35 p.m. Sunday afternoon on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM.