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L.A. Angels (55-35) «11301102x9131

Angels rough up Loe, continue home dominance of Rangers

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The way John Lackey started out, it appeared that he would need a lot of relief. Justin Speier provided a much-needed boost out of the bullpen.

Lackey overcame a 45-pitch, 21-minute first inning in which he gave up three runs, and Speier made his first relief appearance since April as the Los Angeles Angels beat the Texas Rangers 9-5 Saturday night.

Vladimir Guerrero, Reggie Willits and Gary Matthews Jr. each had two RBI for the Angels, who maintained their three-game lead over Seattle in the AL West.

Lackey, who didn't get a chance to pitch in last Tuesday's All-Star Game, gave up four runs -- three earned -- and seven hits in six innings. The right-hander was coming off a brilliant outing against the Yankees in which he dueled Roger Clemens to a 1-1 tie through eight innings before the Angels won it in the 13th.

"I felt great in the bullpen," Lackey said. "I probably warmed up the best I've warmed up this year. Then I had to figure out some way to get somebody out. They made me work a little bit, but I think my execution had a lot to do with it, too."

Michael Young followed Kenny Lofton's leadoff double with an RBI single in the first. Young scored when first baseman Casey Kotchman fielded Marlon Byrd's routine grounder with the bases loaded and made a low throw to the plate that Jose Molina couldn't handle. Lackey walked the next batter, Gerald Laird, on four pitches to force home the third run.

Lackey (12-5) straightened himself out in time, making only 36 pitches over the next three innings and finishing with 113. He improved his record against Texas to 3-0 this season and helped the Angels beat the Rangers at home for the 19th time in 23 tries.

"I definitely wasn't working with a full tank after throwing that many pitches in the first inning," Lackey said. "I had a pretty good sweat going. But sometimes you've got to grind. I was having trouble with the right side of the plate early on. I was yanking my fastball over the plate, not getting it in to right-handers or away from left-handers."

Speier, who missed 63 games because of an intestinal infection, made his first appearance since April 30. The 33-year-old right-hander struck out the side in the seventh on 13 pitches -- getting Young swinging, Mark Teixeira looking and Sammy Sosa on a checked swing.

"That's been my job my whole career -- just going out there and making my pitches," Speier said. "Those are three good hitters, and I made some good pitches. It was just a blessing to get back out there and do my job. It was huge. It was 2½ months of frustration being vented in one outing.

"I felt like a rookie the last two days, waiting to get back out there," Speier added. "This outing rates as probably one of the most special of my career. Jose Molina were going over signs and he said, 'You've been waiting 2½ months for this. Have some fun.'"

Scot Shields pitched a scoreless eighth, extending his shutout streak to 24 2/3 innings over his last 19 outings, and Dustin Moseley worked the ninth.

Kameron Loe (5-7) lasted just 2 2/3 innings, equaling the shortest of his 16 starts this season. The right-hander allowed five runs -- three earned -- along with five hits and a season-high five walks after winning his previous four decisions.

Loe gave up a career-high six walks against the Angels in his first big league start, on Sept. 29, 2004, at Arlington, Texas.

The Angels pulled ahead 5-4 with three runs in the third. Kotchman and Maicer Izturis hit RBI singles on consecutive pitches with the bases loaded, and Loe forced home the go-ahead run by walking Willits with his 67th and final pitch.

"He didn't have his sinker working, which is his bread-and-butter pitch," manager Ron Washington said. "I didn't see the good bite on it. He just couldn't keep it in the strike zone. If he has his command, I think it would have been a different story."

Los Angeles increased the margin to 6-4 in the fifth on an RBI double by Molina, who was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple. Guerrero, who came in with a .424 career average against Texas, added an RBI single in the sixth and Matthews completed the scoring with a two-run double in the ninth.

Loe got off to an inauspicious start, walking each of his first two batters on four pitches. After a brief chat with pitching coach Mark Connor, Loe retired Orlando Cabrera on a fielder's choice grounder and Willits scored on Guerrero's groundout.

"After he want to two balls with the second hitter, we told Gerald to sit in the middle of the plate and he still missed," Washington said.

Notes

  • Lackey struck out the side on 18 pitches in the fifth.
  • Angels 3B Chone Figgins stole second in the sixth for his 184th career steal, two shy of the franchise record set by current Rangers 1B coach Gary Pettis.
  • The Rangers' pitching staff has given up 366 walks, second in the majors behind the Florida Marlins' 387.
  • Kotchman's error was only his second in 67 starts at 1B this season.
 
Copyright 2015 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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John Lackey survives a rough first inning to improve to 3-0 vs. Texas this season.  (AP)
John Lackey survives a rough first inning to improve to 3-0 vs. Texas this season. (AP)

Players of the Game
Anaheim

R. Willits
AB 3
R 1
H 2
HR 0
RBI 2
Texas

K. Lofton
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 0
RBI 0
 

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Texas Rangers
Kenny Lofton, CF5230001 .309
Michael Young, SS5111032 .284
Mark Teixeira, 1B5011011 .300
Sammy Sosa, DH5220021 .244
Frank Catalanotto, LF4001011 .226
Marlon Byrd, RF4020010 .371
Gerald Laird, C2001201 .228
Ramon Vazquez, 3B4010016 .241
Jerry Hairston Jr., 2B3000004 .204
   a- Brad Wilkerson, PH1000012 .226
    Desi Relaford, 2B0000000 .200
Totals385104210  
a-struck out for Hairston in the 8th
Batting
2B - Kenny Lofton 2 (16, Lackey, Moseley), Mark Teixeira (20, Moseley), Ramon Vazquez (6, Lackey)
3B - Sammy Sosa (1, Lackey)
RBI - Michael Young (51), Mark Teixeira (42), Frank Catalanotto (23), Gerald Laird (28)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Marlon Byrd 1, Kenny Lofton 1
E - Frank Francisco (1, Throwing), Kenny Lofton (3, Throwing), Ramon Vazquez (4, Misplayed grounder)
Texas Rangers
Kameron Loe (L,5-7) 2.2553520 5.49
Willie Eyre 2.1311010 3.65
Wes Littleton 0.2111110 4.50
C.J. Wilson 1.1000010 2.90
Frank Francisco 1422100 4.19
WP - Kameron Loe (5), Wes Littleton (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Kameron Loe 67-37, Willie Eyre 29-16, Wes Littleton 14-9, C.J. Wilson 18-11, Frank Francisco 26-15
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kameron Loe 4-3, Willie Eyre 4-1, C.J. Wilson 2-1
Batters Faced - Kameron Loe 19, Willie Eyre 9, Wes Littleton 4, C.J. Wilson 4, Frank Francisco 6
Los Angeles Angels
Reggie Willits, DH3122200 .316
Chone Figgins, 3B3110215 .300
Orlando Cabrera, SS4200102 .324
Vladimir Guerrero, RF5122001 .328
Gary Matthews Jr., CF4122111 .285
Garret Anderson, LF5220013 .283
Casey Kotchman, 1B4011011 .290
Maicer Izturis, 2B4121001 .257
Jose Molina, C3011113 .224
Totals35913975  
Batting
2B - Gary Matthews Jr. (17, Francisco), Garret Anderson (13, Loe), Jose Molina (7, Eyre)
RBI - Reggie Willits 2 (27), Vladimir Guerrero 2 (77), Gary Matthews Jr. 2 (46), Casey Kotchman (40), Maicer Izturis (17), Jose Molina (8)
2-OUT RBI - Reggie Willits 2 (9), Gary Matthews Jr. 2 (16)
SB - Chone Figgins (21, 2nd base off Littleton/Laird)
CS - Chone Figgins (6, 2nd base by Francisco/Laird)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
E - Casey Kotchman (2, Throwing)
Los Angeles Angels
John Lackey (W,12-5) 6743150 2.98
Justin Speier (H,9) 1000030 1.59
Scot Shields (H,21) 1100110 1.66
Dustin Moseley 1211010 2.74
HBP - Catalanotto (by John Lackey)
Pitches-Strikes - John Lackey 113-72, Justin Speier 13-9, Scot Shields 20-13, Dustin Moseley 23-16
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Lackey 6-8, Dustin Moseley 2-0
Batters Faced - John Lackey 28, Justin Speier 3, Scot Shields 5, Dustin Moseley 5
Game Information
Attendance - 44026
Game Time - 3:16
Temperature - 83
Umpires - Home - Rick Reed, First Base - Chuck Meriwether, Second Base - Alfonso Marquez, Third Base - Tim Timmons