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Guerrero hits grand slam, adds another HR against ex-team Angels

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Vladimir Guerrero left the plate with a spring in his trot, pumping his fist and swiftly circling the bases to meet his three Texas teammates back at home.

Guerrero rarely looked this light on his feet last season with the Los Angeles Angels. They let him walk away as a free agent -- and Guerrero is stomping all over his former team's pitching this week.

Texas Rangers

Texas Rangers

Scott Miller
Playing for keeps with their AL West lead, the Texas Rangers struck a deal to acquire catcher Bengie Molina from the San Francisco Giants. Read more

Guerrero hit a grand slam and another homer during a four-hit performance, leading the Rangers to a 6-4 victory over the Angels on Wednesday night.

Guerrero also had a long double and a single during the 42nd multihomer game of his career. The slugger has three homers and six hits in his first two games back at Angel Stadium since Los Angeles decided not to re-sign him last winter -- but he claims it's absolutely nothing personal.

"I just really try to do my job," Guerrero said through a translator. "I'm swinging the bat well and hitting it hard."

Guerrero's fourth-inning grand slam and eighth-inning solo shot sent Texas to its 14th win in 16 games despite a shaky major league debut for starter Omar Beltre, who made it through just four innings after giving up a leadoff homer to Erick Aybar.

The AL West-leading Rangers earned their 21st win in June, setting a club record for wins in a month. After Tuesday's 6-5 loss in the series opener, Texas won for the ninth time in 10 road games to avoid losing back-to-back games for the first time in nearly four weeks.

"We played a solid ballgame," said Josh Hamilton, who stretched his hitting streak to 23 games with an eighth-inning double. "Beltre did good to get us through those early innings, and then Vladdy took it from there."

Dustin Nippert (3-3) pitched three innings of relief for the victory, and Neftali Feliz pitched the ninth for his 21st save in 23 chances.

But Anaheim's envious eyes were on Guerrero, who tied his career high with four hits for the 24th time during the third multihomer game of his first season with Texas. The 2004 AL MVP connected for the seventh grand slam of his career in his second game back in Orange County, where he played the past six seasons for the Angels.

"He's as dangerous as any hitter in the game right now," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He's obviously at a level we haven't seen in a couple of years, but it just goes back to his health and how he's feeling. ... That's what he can do. Vlad was swinging it tonight. We obviously didn't pitch him the way we were trying to. You make a mistake on Vlad and you're going to pay a price."

Reggie Willits had a two-run double for the Angels during a rough start for Scott Kazmir (7-7), who couldn't get out of the fifth inning in his second straight loss after a four-game winning streak.

Kazmir faced the minimum nine batters through three innings until falling apart in the fourth. After hitting leadoff hitter Elvis Andrus, he gave up Michael Young's double and walked Ian Kinsler before Guerrero hammered a changeup into the trees behind the center field fence for his 17th homer.

"We tried to work both sides of the plate, but anything that you left right down the middle or anywhere in the zone, he was going to hit it hard," Kazmir said. "That was one of the things we couldn't control too much."

Kazmir left after Kinsler's RBI single in the fifth, giving up six hits and five runs. Guerrero then hit Sean O'Sullivan's first pitch into the left-center gap for a double, but O'Sullivan got Nelson Cruz on a fly to right with the bases loaded.

Beltre, a 28-year-old right-hander, allowed Aybar's homer to right on his fourth major league pitch. He needed 85 pitches to get through four innings, allowing five hits and four walks while striking out six.

"I was a little nervous, but I'm just glad we won the game," Beltre said through a translator. "After the first inning, I was feeling like it was coming together, and I was able to make a couple of good pitches. I can't make that many mistakes. When you make mistakes, you pay for it right away."

General manager Jon Daniels wouldn't confirm the Rangers had acquired catcher Bengie Molina from the San Francisco Giants in a deal for reliever Chris Ray, saying he had "nothing to report at this time." Texas is interested in acquiring a catcher after opening day catchers Taylor Teagarden and Jarrod Saltalamacchia both struggled before getting sent to the minors.

Ray showered and dressed with the Rangers after the game, but declined to talk about the seemingly imminent trade.

"It hasn't been official," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "I just don't have any comment right now."

Notes

  • Hamilton connected after going hitless in his first three plate appearances, extending the majors' longest streak this season.
  • While Guerrero is rejuvenated and healthy with the Rangers, his Angels replacement, Hideki Matsui, is in a 2 for 23 slump after going 0 for 3 with a walk.
 
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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Vladimir Guerrero has multiple hits in all four games against the Angels this season. (US Presswire)
Vladimir Guerrero has multiple hits in all four games against the Angels this season. (US Presswire)

Players of the Game
Texas

V. Guerrero
AB 4
R 2
H 4
HR 2
RBI 5
Anaheim

E. Aybar
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Texas Rangers
Elvis Andrus, SS4210000 .296
Michael Young, 3B5110000 .316
Ian Kinsler, 2B3111100 .294
Vladimir Guerrero, DH4245000 .339
Josh Hamilton, LF3010101 .343
Nelson Cruz, RF4010004 .319
Justin Smoak, 1B4000022 .216
Max Ramirez, C3000021 .217
   a- David Murphy, PH1000001 .271
    Matt Treanor, C0000000 .237
Julio Borbon, CF4000000 .282
Totals3569624  
a-lined out for M. Ramirez in the 8th
Batting
2B - Michael Young (24, Kazmir), Vladimir Guerrero (14, O'Sullivan), Josh Hamilton (23, Fr. Rodriguez)
HR - Vladimir Guerrero 2 (18, Kazmir, Fr. Rodriguez)
RBI - Ian Kinsler (25), Vladimir Guerrero 5 (68)
2-OUT RBI - Ian Kinsler (12)
Team LOB - 5
Texas Rangers
Omar Beltre 4533461 6.75
Dustin Nippert (W,3-3) 3311000 4.93
Frank Francisco (H,9) 1000020 4.11
Neftali Feliz (S,21) 1000000 2.62
HBP - Frandsen (by Omar Beltre), Napoli (by Dustin Nippert)
WP - Dustin Nippert (3)
Pitches-Strikes - Omar Beltre 85-48, Dustin Nippert 37-27, Frank Francisco 22-17, Neftali Feliz 14-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Omar Beltre 1-4, Dustin Nippert 5-4, Frank Francisco 1-0, Neftali Feliz 2-1
Batters Faced - Omar Beltre 21, Dustin Nippert 13, Frank Francisco 3, Neftali Feliz 3
Los Angeles Angels
Erick Aybar, SS5122010 .275
Howard Kendrick, 2B4010112 .276
Bobby Abreu, RF5010023 .267
Torii Hunter, CF4010102 .290
Hideki Matsui, DH3000112 .259
Mike Napoli, 1B3110012 .252
Kevin Frandsen, 3B3100003 .340
Bobby Wilson, C3110010 .186
Reggie Willits, LF3012111 .259
Totals3348448  
Batting
2B - Bobby Wilson (4, Nippert)
HR - Erick Aybar (2, Beltre)
SH - Bobby Wilson (1)
RBI - Erick Aybar 2 (15), Reggie Willits 2 (5)
SB - Erick Aybar (12, 2nd base off Beltre/M. Ramirez), Howard Kendrick (8, 3rd base off Nippert/M. Ramirez), Bobby Abreu (14, 2nd base off Nippert/M. Ramirez), Reggie Willits (1, 2nd base off Beltre/M. Ramirez)
PK - Howard Kendrick (2, Beltre)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Kendrick-Napoli, Kendrick-Aybar-Napoli
E - Erick Aybar (10, Throwing)
Los Angeles Angels
Scott Kazmir (L,7-7) 4.2655141 5.67
Sean O'Sullivan 2.1100100 1.29
Francisco Rodriguez 2211001 4.41
IBB - Hamilton by Sean O'Sullivan
HBP - Andrus (by Scott Kazmir)
Pitches-Strikes - Scott Kazmir 81-53, Sean O'Sullivan 32-19, Francisco Rodriguez 31-18
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Scott Kazmir 7-2, Sean O'Sullivan 2-5, Francisco Rodriguez 2-4
Batters Faced - Scott Kazmir 21, Sean O'Sullivan 9, Francisco Rodriguez 8
Game Information
Attendance - 41867
Game Time - 3:04
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Paul Emmel, First Base - Bill Hohn, Second Base - Gary Darling, Third Base - Bruce Dreckman