Big fifth inning boosts Rangers; Vlad leaves in eighth with leg injury
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Michael Young created an opening with his speed. Andruw Jones and the rest of the Texas Rangers lineup took over from there.
Jones hit a three-run homer off John Lackey after Young reached on a two-out infield single, leading to a big fifth inning in the Rangers' 8-5 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday night.
Hank Blalock scored on a wild pitch and Jarrod Saltalamacchia added a two-run single in the inning, when Texas erased the Angels' 3-0 lead. All the runs came with two out.
"I think it all started when Mike beat out the infield hit and Jonesey did some homework on his previous two at-bats," Texas manager Ron Washington said.
Juan Rivera hit two solo homers and Chone Figgins drove in two runs for Los Angeles, which dropped into a tie with Texas for the top spot in the AL West. The teams play again Wednesday night.
Angels slugger Vladimir Guerrero left in the eighth inning with a strained muscle behind his left knee. He recently returned to right field after serving as the designated hitter while recovering from a torn pectoral muscle.
Guerrero fielded a single by Elvis Andrus and was about to make a throw when it looked like he stepped awkwardly on his left leg. He fell to his hands and knees, but got up and walked around before trainers came out to look at his left knee. He walked off the field on his own and was replaced by Gary Matthews Jr.
"This will obviously be a setback if he's not able to get back into the lineup quickly, but we're going to take it one step at a time," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "How long it takes for Vlad to heal is how long it takes. There's not a lot we can do at this point. We're going to have to evaluate him and see."
Lackey was working on a shutout before Texas got to him in the fifth. He retired the first two batters before Young hit a chopper up the middle on a 3-2 pitch and beat shortstop Erick Aybar's throw to first in a close play.
"We caught a break," Young said. "It wasn't like I had a good at-bat. He made a really good pitch down on the zone, I just chopped it off the plate and just ran. After that, guys strung together some decent at-bats."
Josh Hamilton then singled and Jones hit Lackey's next pitch over the wall in center, tying it at 3. Hank Blalock followed with a double and Lackey walked Marlon Byrd and David Murphy to load the bases.
The right-hander continued to struggle with his control, uncorking a wild pitch that allowed Blalock to score and surrendering Saltalamacchia's two-run single.
"They're a good offensive club, and if you miss your spots, they're going to let you know," Scioscia said. "It's something that is unusual, especially with John out there. He usually finishes off innings pretty well, but he wasn't able to do it tonight."
Lackey wasn't worried about the outing.
"We're in first place. Let's not jump off a bridge," Lackey said. "They're playing good. I mean, they've obviously played well against us. They've got a good lineup, they're pitching better and playing better defense, so that's definitely going to keep them around a little longer."
The Rangers tacked on two more runs in the eighth. Ian Kinsler had an RBI double and Young added a sacrifice fly that made it 8-4.
Dustin Nippert, who had been sidelined with a strained right shoulder, lasted just 3 2/3 innings for Texas in his first start of the season. He allowed three runs and seven hits.
Figgins made it 1-0 with an RBI single in the third. Rivera hit a leadoff drive in the fourth and Aybar had a run-scoring single.
Derek Holland (3-5), the second of six Rangers pitchers, tossed two innings to get the win.
Julio Borbon was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City to make room for Nippert. Brandon McCarthy was transferred to the 60-day DL to make room for Nippert on the 40-man roster. ... Guerrero will be re-evaluated on Wednesday.
TEX Wins 2-1
- Home Plate Umpire - Eric Cooper
- First Base Umpire - Mike Reilly
- Second Base Umpire - Chuck Meriwether
- Third Base Umpire - Laz Diaz
2023 American League West Standings