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Dan Haren is disappointed again, but Angels defeat Texas Rangers, 3-2

The Angels let down starting pitcher Dan Haren once more, allowing his win to slip away but still earning a victory against the Texas Rangers.

May 15, 2011|By Kevin Baxter
  • Angels starting pitcher Dan Haren gave up six hits and was charged with two earned runs in 7 2/3 innings on Saturday against the Texas Rangers.
Angels starting pitcher Dan Haren gave up six hits and was charged with two… (LM Otero / Associated Press )

Reporting from Arlington, Texas — For 72/3 innings Saturday, Dan Haren pitched well enough to win.

Again.

But three pitches after he retired to the cool of the dugout, his bullpen and defense made all that moot. Texas' Michael Young rolled a ground ball up the arm of Angels shortstop Erick Aybar and into centerfield, costing Haren a victory he deserved.

Again.

That the Angels rallied for a 3-2 win on Maicer Izturis' two-out ninth-inning single was of significant solace to Haren. But it did nothing for his record, stuck at 4-2 after his fifth consecutive start without a victory.

"Story of my life," Haren said with a pained laugh. "It's no big deal."

The same could be said of the Angels' offense when Haren is on the mound: It's no big deal.

In two of his last five starts, his teammates failed to score while he was on the mound. And in another they scored just once.

The Angels lost all three.

"We saw a lot of the same last year with Dan," Manager Mike Scioscia said.

Indeed they did: In 13 of his 14 final starts in his first summer with the Angels, his teammates averaged 2.69 runs behind him — yet Haren somehow managed to win as many as he lost.

And he should have won again Saturday.

After giving up four hits to the first seven batters he faced, helping the Rangers to a 1-0 lead, Haren retired 15 of the next 16, the lone runner reaching base on an error.

And the right-hander was still dealing in the eighth when Ian Kinsler doubled with two out.

Scioscia responded by waving Fernando Rodney in from the bullpen. And when Young's sharp grounder, which was scored a single, skipped off Aybar, Haren angrily snatched a towel off the dugout bench and stormed into the clubhouse.

"Obviously, just like everybody, I want to win," Haren said. "Those are really hard to swallow when they tie it up like that, on a fluky play. But the team bounced back and scored a run, and we won the game. So I'll sleep good tonight."

Clearly, Haren has become accustomed to disappointment. Four times he's finished in the top six in his league in innings pitched, and three times he's ranked in the top six in complete games. Yet he's won as many as 16 games just once — and lost as many as 10 four times in the last six seasons.

"I haven't had the best luck throughout my career," he said. "But since I'm not the 20-game winner, I pride myself in innings and quality starts and keeping the team in the game every time I go out."

Alberto Callaspo did what he could to help Haren on Saturday, giving him the lead with run-scoring doubles in the fourth and sixth innings. But his fourth-inning double, which scored Izturis from third, was the Angels' only hit in 11 tries with a runner in scoring position before Izturis drove in Jeff Mathis in the ninth.

That made a winner of reliever Scott Downs, who retired the only batter he faced. Haren, meanwhile, went home empty-handed.

Again.

"Wins and losses, you can't control it," he said with a shrug. "I'm not going to go up there and hit. I'm not going to play defense. I have one job, and that job is to put up as many zeroes as I can."

kevin.baxter@latimes.com

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