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L.A. Angels «000020000270
Texas000100000150

Molina's two-run blast enough for Angels against Rangers

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Jose Molina hit a rare home run, then had a close-up view of why that's all the offense the Los Angeles Angels needed.

The part-time catcher's two-run homer in the fifth inning was enough for the Angels in a 2-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night, when three relievers combined for five shutout innings after an injury forced starter Kelvim Escobar to leave the game.

"I don't care about homers, base hits or whatever. I care more about the wins," said Molina, who has four homers in 71 games this season and 15 in 316 career games. "We are in this situation, we need wins. If that helped, I'll take it any time."

The Angels (79-68), a season-high 11 games over .500, won for the ninth time in 12 games to move within five games of AL West-leading Oakland. Seven of their last 10 games are against the Athletics.

Escobar left after four innings with tendinitis in his left knee that he said has bothered him all season. The right-hander expected to have an MRI on Friday.

"My last 15-20 games, I'd feel it some times, and it'd get better," Escobar said. "Tonight, it got worse. It didn't get better."

Los Angeles and Texas played for the first time since Aug. 16, when there were three hit batters, a bench-clearing brawl and four ejections at the end of a contentious series between the AL West rivals. Both managers and five players (three Angels, two Rangers) were suspended the following day.

Rangers leadoff hitter Gary Matthews Jr. was hit by a pitch in the first inning Thursday night by Escobar. After Matthews was hit on the upper leg, there were no other pitches that came close to hitting batters.

"That was more ironic than anything," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. "He wasn't trying to throw at anybody. That was an accident, definitely."

Hector Carrasco (6-3) replaced Escobar to start the fifth, and pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings with three strikeouts and one walk. After Scot Shields pitched an inning, Francisco Rodriguez got the last four outs for his major league-leading 42nd save in 45 chances.

"Their bullpen is top shelf," Rangers shortstop Michael Young said. "Our pitchers did a great job, but one home run and that was the balgame."

Texas rookie Edinson Volquez (1-5) lost his fourth straight start despite allowing only two runs and six hits over five innings. He struck out two with no walks.

Rodriguez took over after Shields walked two in the eighth. The closer got out of that jam by striking out Ian Kinsler, then struck out the first two batters in a perfect ninth.

"The bottom line is we need to start scoring runs," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We are not going to be able to keep tapping into the resources of (the bullpen). ... There's a lot riding game to game and we're going to need our bullpen intact if we're going to make the run we hope to."

Five of the Angels' last six games have been decided by one run. They haven't scored more than four runs in that stretch, but won three games.

Mark DeRosa's RBI single in the fourth gave Texas a 1-0 lead.

Adam Kennedy, who charged Scott Feldman in the ninth inning of the last game to start the brawl, had a one-out single in the fifth and scored on Molina's homer.

Notes

  • Angels RF Vladimir Guerrero was 0-for-4, the first time in 25 career games at Texas he didn't have a hit. Guerrero had hits in his first 44 games against the Rangers before going hitless in a game at home Aug. 5.
  • Feldman served the final game of his six-game suspension Thursday night.
  • Los Angeles started its final road trip of the season, nine games over 11 days.
  • Texas played the first game of a 10-game homestand before it closes the season on the road. The Rangers are 35-37 at home.
 
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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Players of the Game
Texas

C. Lee
AB 2
R 1
H 1
HR 0
RBI 0
Anaheim

J. Molina
AB 3
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Los Angeles Angels
Maicer Izturis, 3B4020000 .298
Orlando Cabrera, SS4000003 .281
Vladimir Guerrero, RF4000000 .328
Garret Anderson, DH4000010 .280
Juan Rivera, LF4010010 .297
Howie Kendrick, 1B3010001 .284
    Darin Erstad, 1B1000000 .226
Adam Kennedy, 2B3110011 .267
Jose Molina, C3112000 .255
Chone Figgins, CF3010000 .255
Totals33272035 
Batting
2B - Maicer Izturis (19, Volquez)
HR - Jose Molina (4, Volquez)
RBI - Jose Molina 2 (22)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Juan Rivera 1
DP - Kennedy-Cabrera-Kendrick, J. Rivera-Kennedy-Kendrick
Los Angeles Angels
Kelvim Escobar 4211320 3.54
Hector Carrasco (W,6-3) 2.2300130 3.70
Scot Shields (H,30) 1000210 3.04
Francisco Rodriguez (S,42) 1.1000030 1.67
HBP - Matthews (by Kelvim Escobar)
WP - Kelvim Escobar (7), Hector Carrasco (6)
Pitches-Strikes - Kelvim Escobar 62-0, Hector Carrasco 44-0, Scot Shields 23-0, Francisco Rodriguez 15-0
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kelvim Escobar 4-4, Hector Carrasco 4-1, Scot Shields 2-0, Francisco Rodriguez 1-0
Batters Faced - Kelvim Escobar 16, Hector Carrasco 12, Scot Shields 5, Francisco Rodriguez 4
Texas Rangers
Gary Matthews Jr., CF4010002 .311
Michael Young, SS4000003 .313
Mark Teixeira, 1B4010000 .272
Carlos Lee, LF2110210 .301
Hank Blalock, DH3000122 .270
Mark DeRosa, 3B2011212 .311
Ian Kinsler, 2B4000027 .283
Gerald Laird, C4000010 .321
Nelson Cruz, RF2010110 .205
   a- Matt Stairs, PH1000010 .248
Totals301516916 
a-struck out for Cruz in the 9th
Batting
RBI - Mark DeRosa (71)
2-OUT RBI - Mark DeRosa (25)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Kinsler-Teixeira
Texas Rangers
Edinson Volquez (L,1-5) 5622021 6.15
Rick Bauer 2100010 3.56
Joaquin Benoit 1000000 4.58
Ron Mahay 1000000 3.96
Pitches-Strikes - Edinson Volquez 74-0, Rick Bauer 22-0, Joaquin Benoit 10-0, Ron Mahay 14-0
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Edinson Volquez 4-8, Rick Bauer 3-2, Joaquin Benoit 1-2, Ron Mahay 2-1
Batters Faced - Edinson Volquez 20, Rick Bauer 7, Joaquin Benoit 3, Ron Mahay 3
Game Information
Attendance - 21488
Game Time - 2:39
Temperature - 89
Umpires - Home - Laz Diaz, First Base - Rick Reed, Second Base - Tim Tschida, Third Base - Ted Barrett