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Pujols homers twice as Halos whip Rangers; Hamilton hitless

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Albert Pujols didn't have to wait nearly as long for his first home run this year. He had to wait awhile for another chance to swing the bat, though.

Then he homered again.

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Pujols went deep in his only two plate appearances that weren't intentional walks to offset another tough day for Josh Hamilton in his second game back in Texas, and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Rangers 8-4 Saturday.

Exactly a month earlier than he hit his first homer in his debut season for the Angels last year, Pujols drove a two-run shot to the lawn in center field off Matt Harrison in the first inning and watched Hamilton strike out twice behind him after taking two of three intentional walks.

The next - and last - time the Rangers let him swing, Pujols homered off reliever Jason Frasor in the sixth.

"I think it was a smart move," said Hamilton, who is 1 for 20 with 10 strikeouts after signing a $125 million, five-year contract. "Albert was dominating today, obviously. If I was in their situation, I would have done the same thing."

Mark Trumbo also had a two-run homer in the first against Harrison (0-2), who gave up eight hits and five runs in five innings after losing to Houston on opening night.

"The biggest thing was that first inning," said Harrison, who has an 8.44 ERA through two starts. "The balls I left up in the zone were hit hard, and it just led to a four-spot in that first and put us in a big hole."

Mitch Moreland and Ian Kinsler hit third-inning home runs against Tommy Hanson (1-0), who gave up three runs and six hits over six innings in his Angels debut after arriving in an offseason trade with Atlanta.

The boos were loud again for Hamilton, who said before the game that his wife had to call over security during Friday's home opener for Texas because fans were shouting insults and obscenities at their family. There were no major incidents, and Hamilton said his family planned to return for the remaining two games.

Hamilton, a five-time All-Star with the Rangers who went 0 for 4 in his return Friday, walked in the first inning ahead of Trumbo's opposite-field home run to right.

First base was open the next two times Pujols came up, so Rangers manager Ron Washington chose to pitch to his former slugger. Hamilton struck out both times on breaking pitches in the dirt. He flied out to left in the sixth and again in the eighth after another intentional walk to Pujols.

"Hamilton is not swinging the bat well, we had some left-handers out there and we just went for the matchup each time," Washington said. "Each time we didn't walk (Pujols), you seen what happened."

In his return to Texas, Hamilton is 0 for 8 with a walk and four strikeouts, and isn't hitting the ball very hard when he does make contact.

"If I was somewhere else, the same thing would be going on. It'll get better," Hamilton said.

Pujols, also playing under the weight of a huge new contract at this time a year ago, didn't hit his first homer of 2012 until May 6 at Toronto. Odds were pretty good he would go deep at Rangers Ballpark, where he has four multihomer games in his past 15, including a three-homer outburst in Game 3 of the 2011 World Series with St. Louis.

After a slow start last year, Pujols knows what Hamilton is going through.

"We're only five games into the season. Let the guy settle down," Pujols said. "Let's see where we are a month from now. You guys said that last year about me and I proved a lot of people wrong."

Peter Bourjos greeted Frasor with a home run to start the sixth, and two outs later Pujols fouled off a pair of two-strike pitches before sending a fastball into the seats in left field.

"We know it's a long season, but you don't want to wait too long," Pujols said. "You want to get it going early. This is a big series and we have a tough month."

Moreland broke an 0-for-13 spell to start the season and was the first batter to reach against Hanson when he hit a 435-foot home run halfway up the upper deck in right field in the third inning. Kinsler followed two batters later with a homer to left.

"I was just trying not to jump up and down running around the bases because I finally got a hit," said Moreland, who went hitless with two strikeouts in his other three at-bats. "It's definitely not the start you want. But man, we've got a long ways to go."

Nelson Cruz homered inside the left-field foul pole in the ninth off Angels closer Ernesto Frieri, who was pitching because he hadn't appeared since getting the save on opening day Monday in Cincinnati.

Notes

  • Pujols made his first start of the season at DH, and Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he planned to give Hamilton an occasional break from defense as well.
  • The Rangers' infield committed its first error after 77 clean chances to start the season when 3B Adrian Beltre booted a grounder in the seventh.
  • Hanson allowed the fourth-most homers in the NL last season (27) and gave up four in 18 1-3 innings during spring training.
  • Rangers INF Leury Garcia made his major league debut as a pinch-hitter for Lance Berkman in the eighth and struck out.
 
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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Albert Pujols (left) becomes the first player in AL history to hit two homers with three intentional walks in one game. (USATSI)
Albert Pujols (left) becomes the first player in AL history to hit two homers with three intentional walks in one game. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Los Angeles

A. Pujols
AB 2
R 2
H 2
HR 2
RBI 3
Los Angeles

T. Hanson
IP 6.0
H 6
ER 3
BB 0
K 4
 

Related Video

Los Angeles Angels
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Mike Trout, LF5020000 .292
Erick Aybar, SS4111000 .273
Albert Pujols, DH2223300 .188
Josh Hamilton, RF4100126 .050
Mark Trumbo, 1B5222002 .238
Howard Kendrick, 2B4000100 .263
Alberto Callaspo, 3B3020100 .278
Chris Iannetta, C4111013 .375
Peter Bourjos, CF4121011 .333
Totals35812864  
Batting
2B - Erick Aybar (2, Harrison), Mark Trumbo (2, Ortiz), Alberto Callaspo (1, Harrison)
HR - Albert Pujols 2 (2, Harrison, Frasor), Mark Trumbo (1, Harrison), Peter Bourjos (1, Frasor)
SF - Erick Aybar (1), Chris Iannetta (1)
SH - Alberto Callaspo (1)
RBI - Erick Aybar (1), Albert Pujols 3 (5), Mark Trumbo 2 (3), Chris Iannetta (5), Peter Bourjos (1)
2-OUT RBI - Albert Pujols (1)
Team LOB - 9
Los Angeles Angels
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Tommy Hanson (W,1-0) 6633042 4.50
Sean Burnett 1100020 0.00
Kevin Jepsen 1100010 0.00
Ernesto Frieri 1111021 4.50
WP - Tommy Hanson 2 (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Tommy Hanson 90-56, Sean Burnett 20-14, Kevin Jepsen 12-8, Ernesto Frieri 16-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Tommy Hanson 5-9, Kevin Jepsen 1-1, Ernesto Frieri 1-0
Batters Faced - Tommy Hanson 24, Sean Burnett 4, Kevin Jepsen 4, Ernesto Frieri 4
Texas Rangers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Ian Kinsler, 2B4111002 .238
Elvis Andrus, SS4110000 .238
Lance Berkman, DH3010011 .471
   a- Leury Garcia, PH-DH1000010 .000
Adrian Beltre, 3B4010002 .238
David Murphy, LF4011012 .158
Nelson Cruz, RF4111012 .500
A.J. Pierzynski, C4010010 .389
Mitch Moreland, 1B4111021 .059
Leonys Martin, CF4010021 .100
Totals3649409  
a-struck out for Berkman in the 8th
Batting
2B - Lance Berkman (3, Hanson), Adrian Beltre (1, Jepsen)
3B - David Murphy (1, Hanson)
HR - Ian Kinsler (2, Hanson), Nelson Cruz (1, Frieri), Mitch Moreland (1, Hanson)
RBI - Ian Kinsler (4), David Murphy (2), Nelson Cruz (4), Mitch Moreland (2)
2-OUT RBI - Ian Kinsler (2), David Murphy (2)
SB - Elvis Andrus (1, 2nd base off Hanson/Iannetta)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
Outfield Assists - David Murphy 1
DP - Kinsler-Andrus-Moreland
E - Adrian Beltre (1, Misplayed grounder)
Texas Rangers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Matt Harrison (L,0-2) 5855432 8.44
Jason Frasor 0.2222002 10.80
Joe Ortiz 2210110 3.00
Robbie Ross 1.1000100 0.00
IBB - Pujols by Matt Harrison, by Pujols, Pujols by Joe Ortiz
Pitches-Strikes - Matt Harrison 96-54, Jason Frasor 16-12, Joe Ortiz 35-23, Robbie Ross 12-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Matt Harrison 8-3, Jason Frasor 2-0, Joe Ortiz 3-3, Robbie Ross 2-1
Batters Faced - Matt Harrison 26, Jason Frasor 4, Joe Ortiz 10, Robbie Ross 4
Game Information
Attendance - 47201
Game Time - 3:00
Temperature - 72
Umpires - Home - Wally Bell, First Base - Larry Vanover, Second Base - Tony Randazzo, Third Base - Manny Gonzalez