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Texas000040101660
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Finley's failed squeeze leads to Angels' winning hit

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- After fouling off a pitch on an attempted suicide squeeze, Steve Finley did what he does best -- swing the bat and put the ball in play.

Finley drove in the winning run with a ninth-inning single and Bengie Molina hit a three-run homer, leading the Los Angeles Angels to a 7-6 victory over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.

Brian Shouse (1-1) walked Jeff DaVanon and Vladimir Guerrero to open the ninth before Garret Anderson grounded into a force at second. Finley, who jumped from the NL West champion Dodgers to the AL West champion Angels as a free agent in December, slapped a 1-1 pitch to left to score DaVanon -- one pitch after his failed bunt.

"I think it was a great call. I just didn't get it down," Finley said. "It was 1-0 when I got the squeeze sign so I was kind of going out over the plate, thinking it was going to be another slider. But he threw a fastball up and in, and it was a tough pitch to bunt on.

"The next pitch I was doing the same thing, just looking out over the plate. He left one out there and it went through the hole. I was upset for not getting the run in my previous at-bat. If I did, that last inning's a moot point," he said.

Scot Shields (1-0) picked up the win despite allowing a tying RBI single by Michael Young in the top of the ninth. David Dellucci led off with a walk and went to third on two wild pitches before Shields walked Rod Barajas. After Alfonso Soriano and Hank Blalock struck out, Young drove in Dellucci.

Angels closer Francisco Rodriguez was not available to pitch because he worked the previous two nights, throwing 32 pitches in three innings. But pitching the ninth wasn't much of a stretch for Shields, who saved four games last season while Troy Percival was on the disabled list.

"I felt fine out there. I feel like I was a little more amped up on opening day than I was tonight," Shields said. "But Michael Young is one of the best hitters in the game. I left a pitch up in the zone and he hammered it."

Soriano homered and Dellucci hit a two-run double for the Rangers, who dropped two of three to the Angels and haven't won a season-opening series since 1999. It's the first time in club history that the Rangers have opened a season with three consecutive one-run games.

"I don't think it leaves a bad taste. If anything, there were some positives in it," Dellucci said. "We were extremely close to winning all three ballgames, and still weren't swinging the bats like we're capable of doing. We have to be very confident that once our bats come around and we start hitting the ball like we should, we'll be playing extremely good baseball."

Angels starter John Lackey allowed four runs and three hits in 4 2/3 innings, walking four and throwing three wild pitches -- two of which allowed runs to score. The five wild pitches by the Angels' staff were one shy of the club record.

Lackey, attempting to push his career record above .500, struck out the side on 12 pitches in the first inning and didn't allow a hit until Richard Hidalgo's leadoff single in the fifth. But the lanky right-hander didn't make it out of the inning as Texas turned a 3-0 deficit into a 4-3 lead.

Adrian Gonzalez outlasted Lackey during a 15-pitch plate appearance, working out a walk after fouling off six two-strike deliveries in a row. One out later, Dellucci had the green light on a 3-0 pitch and hit a two-run double that trimmed the Angels' lead to 3-2.

"It definitely had an effect. He was up there for a while," Lackey said. "It was a good battle and he ended up winning it."

Dellucci scored the tying run on a wild pitch. Soriano walked and scored the go-ahead run on another wild pitch that bounced off Molina.

"When you try to bounce a breaking ball with two strikes, that's not a wild pitch. That's right where you want it to be," Lackey said. "I mean, you've definitely got to call those wild pitches, but that's right where I wanted to throw it."

Texas starter Chris Young allowed three runs and seven hits in four innings. R.A. Dickey replaced him and gave up Molina's first homer of the season.

Soriano homered in the seventh against Brendan Donnelly, one night after hitting a go-ahead shot in the 12th against Bret Prinz.

Notes

  • Lackey threw 48 pitches in the fifth -- one fewer than he did in the first four innings combined.
  • Guerrero, who doubled in the seventh, has hit safely in all 21 games he's played against Texas.
  • The umpiring crew for this series included Tim and Bill Welke, marking the first time brothers have worked in the same regular-season game. John and Mark Hirschbeck were on the same crew for the 2000 ALCS -- the only time they worked together in the majors.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Josh Paul and Darin Erstad congratulate Steve Finley after his game-winning hit in the ninth.  (AP)
Josh Paul and Darin Erstad congratulate Steve Finley after his game-winning hit in the ninth. (AP)

Players of the Game
Anaheim

G. Anderson
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
Texas

A. Soriano
AB 4
R 2
H 1
HR 1
RBI 1
 

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Texas Rangers
Alfonso Soriano, 2B4211123 .333
Hank Blalock, 3B5010022 .077
Michael Young, SS4021110 .286
Mark Teixeira, 1B5000005 .200
Richard Hidalgo, RF3110110 .364
Adrian Gonzalez, DH3100121 .000
Gary Matthews Jr., CF4000013 .231
David Dellucci, LF3212101 .250
Rod Barajas, C2000211 .273
    Chad Allen, PR0000000 .000
    Sandy Alomar Jr., C0000000 .000
Totals3366471016 
Batting
2B - Hank Blalock (1, Lackey), David Dellucci (1, Lackey)
HR - Alfonso Soriano (2, Donnelly)
RBI - Alfonso Soriano (2), Michael Young (1), David Dellucci 2 (2)
2-OUT RBI - Michael Young (1)
Team LOB - 7
Texas Rangers
Chris Young 4733130 6.75
R.A. Dickey 2433021 10.13
Matt Riley 0.2000000 0.00
Ryan Bukvich 0.1000110 0.00
Brian Shouse (L,1-1) 1.1111200 3.38
WP - Chris Young (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Chris Young 92-58, R.A. Dickey 29-19, Matt Riley 5-5, Ryan Bukvich 9-4, Brian Shouse 23-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Chris Young 5-4, R.A. Dickey 3-1, Matt Riley 2-0, Brian Shouse 2-2
Batters Faced - Chris Young 20, R.A. Dickey 10, Matt Riley 2, Ryan Bukvich 2, Brian Shouse 7
Los Angeles Angels
Darin Erstad, 1B5120010 .286
Jeff DaVanon, DH4111111 .222
Vladimir Guerrero, RF3110201 .308
Garret Anderson, LF5231002 .357
Steve Finley, CF5022012 .182
Orlando Cabrera, SS3120101 .222
Bengie Molina, C4113015 .400
Robb Quinlan, 3B3000020 .111
    Maicer Izturis, 3B1000000 .000
Chone Figgins, 2B4000000 .000
Totals3771274612 
Batting
2B - Darin Erstad (3, C. Young), Vladimir Guerrero (3, Dickey), Garret Anderson (2, C. Young)
HR - Bengie Molina (1, Dickey)
RBI - Jeff DaVanon (1), Garret Anderson (2), Steve Finley 2 (2), Bengie Molina 3 (4)
2-OUT RBI - Jeff DaVanon (1), Garret Anderson (2), Steve Finley (1), Bengie Molina 3 (4)
Team LOB - 9
Los Angeles Angels
John Lackey 4.2344440 7.71
Esteban Yan 1.1000110 0.00
Brendan Donnelly (H,1) 2211031 9.00
Scot Shields (BS,1; W,1-0) 1111220 5.40
WP - John Lackey 3 (3), Scot Shields 2 (3)
Pitches-Strikes - John Lackey 90-61, Esteban Yan 24-14, Brendan Donnelly 27-21, Scot Shields 27-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Lackey 5-5, Esteban Yan 2-1, Brendan Donnelly 3-0, Scot Shields 1-0
Batters Faced - John Lackey 21, Esteban Yan 5, Brendan Donnelly 8, Scot Shields 6
Game Information
Attendance - 35169
Game Time - 3:15
Temperature - 60
Umpires - Home - Gary Cederstrom, First Base - Bill Welke, Second Base - Tim Welke, Third Base - Brian O'Nora