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TEXAS 7, ANGELS 3 : BASEBALL

Starting to get bad

Chatwood can't get out of the third inning, and Holland goes 82/3 to help Texas increase its lead

August 17, 2011|Mike DiGiovanna

It's like the varsity against the junior varsity. The standings say both teams are in the same division, but the Angels don't appear to be in the same league as the Texas Rangers right now.

The Rangers throttled the Angels for the second consecutive night Tuesday, amassing 17 hits and rocking rookie right-hander Tyler Chatwood in a 7-3 victory that pushed them six games ahead of the Angels in the American League West.

A week ago, the Angels were 11/2 games behind the Rangers, but they've lost six of seven games, the offense has gone into a tailspin, and they're fading quickly.

Sensing his players might be pressing, Manager Mike Scioscia held a brief team meeting afterward.

"He just kind of deflated the situation," right fielder Torii Hunter said. "He said some great things. It was a good time to have one."

Hunter wouldn't go into details, but Scioscia urged his players to embrace the one-game-at-a-time approach and not focus too much on the big picture.

"Baseball is baseball -- anybody can be beaten on any given day," Hunter said. "If we're not focused and we play the way we've been playing the last couple of days, you can get beat by anybody. We have to change some things. We have to step up."

That's exactly what the Rangers, who have won 10 of their last 12 games and appear stronger than the Angels in almost every phase of the game, have done in August.

The Angels have three superb starting pitchers in Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana, but the Rangers' rotation is deeper, as Derek Holland (11-4) showed Tuesday night.

The 24-year-old left-hander is the team's fifth starter, but he looked like an ace against the Angels, limiting them to three runs and nine hits in 82/3 innings.

Chatwood, the Angels' No. 4 starter, was tagged for five runs and eight hits in two-plus innings. The 21-year-old failed to retire any of the five batters he faced in a third inning that went Josh Hamilton home run, Michael Young single, Nelson Cruz walk, Mike Napoli single and Mitch Moreland two-run single. Chatwood (6-9) left with the Angels trailing, 5-0.

"He was out of his mechanics a little bit, he was a little amped up," Scioscia said. "His stride got long, and he missed his spots with some pitches."

Even with one of their best hitters, third baseman Adrian Beltre, on the disabled list, the Rangers have outscored the Angels, 15-7, and out-hit them, 31-18, in the first two games of this four-game series.

Texas ranks second in the league in average, third in runs, third in homers, second in slugging and third in on-base percentage. The Angels rank 10th in average, 11th in runs, 10th in homers, 11th in slugging percentage and 12th in on-base percentage.

The Angels have been particularly sluggish since Aug. 5, batting .224 with 36 runs in 11 games.

The two most glaring holes have been wherever Vernon Wells (in an 11-for-83 skid) and Bobby Abreu (seven for 46) are batting.

"It's been a rough seven days," Scioscia said, "but this can turn on a heartbeat."

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mike.digiovanna@latimes.com

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BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX

Angels vs. Texas

Overall record

Texas: 71-52; Angels: 65-58

Texas leads series, 6-5

Runs scored in season series

Texas 53, Angels 45

Record since All-Star break

Angels 15-16, Texas 20-11

Head-to-head games left

Today-Thurs.: at Angels

Aug. 26-28: at Texas

Sept. 26-28: at Angels

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