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Angels look out of place

Hamilton hits his 16th and 17th homers to lead Texas' blowout in rain-delayed game.

May 12, 2012|Mike DiGiovanna
  • Angels pitcher Jerome Williams looks on after giving up a solo home run to Texas outfielder Josh Hamilton, left, during the second inning of the Angels' 10-3 loss Friday.
Angels pitcher Jerome Williams looks on after giving up a solo home run to… (Tony Gutierrez / Associated…)

ARLINGTON, TEXAS — If the Angels were in the English Premier League, they'd be in danger of being relegated to the second division right now. They didn't look like they belonged on the same field as the Texas Rangers on Friday night.

Josh Hamilton continued his torrid slugging with his major league-leading 16th and 17th homers, a towering shot to right in the second inning and a laser to right in the fourth, and Yu Darvish weathered a 1-hour, 56-minute rain delay to throw 51/3 solid innings to lead the Rangers to a 10-3 victory at the Ballpark in Arlington.

The Angels spent the evening diving recklessly for balls they had no chance of catching in the outfield, overthrowing cutoff men and looking feeble at the plate, their only real highlights a Mike Trout two-run homer in the third and Torii Hunter's sixth-inning solo shot to center, which ended an 0-for-20 skid.

Jerome Williams replaced starter C.J. Wilson after the first-inning rain delay and was roughed up for six runs and 11 hits, including three homers, in 62/3 innings.

Wilson, who threw only 22 pitches, will start Saturday, becoming the first big league pitcher to start consecutive games since Texas' Aaron Myette on Sept. 3-4, 2002, against Baltimore. Myette was ejected from the first game after four pitches.

The game was essentially over after the Rangers scored six runs on five hits in the first inning, including Nelson Cruz's two-run single and Craig Gentry's two-run triple. The Angels (14-19) were out-hit, 15-6, and they fell eight games behind Texas in the AL West.

"We didn't play a good game on the defensive side," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "We cracked the gate open for them, and they took advantage of it."

The gap between the Angels and the two-time defending AL champion Rangers is wide, but the one between the teams' No. 3 hitters is Grand Canyon-wide.

Albert Pujols, the Angels' $240-million winter acquisition, popped out twice, struck out and grounded out, his average falling to .192. The most solid contact he made all night was when he hit catcher Yorvit Torrealba's mask with the follow-through of a first-inning swing.

"It was a tough night for him," Scioscia said of Pujols, who had two-RBI games in three of the previous four games. "Every time it seems like he's inching closer and feeling more comfortable, he's taken a half-step back. He's frustrated, but he needs to keep grinding."

Pujols, a three-time National League most valuable player, has one homer and 11 RBIs on the season, and he hasn't drawn a walk in 14 games dating to April 25, but he insisted Friday night that he is "seeing the ball really good." He also was put off by a question about the gap between the clubs.

"There are still a lot of games left -- you're trying to write something negative like everyone has already," Pujols said. "It's just one game. We need to come back [Saturday] and put ourselves in position to win the series."

Hamilton, by contrast, has been on a tear. He has clubbed eight homers in 18 at-bats over five games, including four Tuesday night in Camden Yards, and became the third player since 1918 to hit 17 homers in his team's first 33 games.

The others were Cy Williams of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1923 and Frank Howard with the Washington Senators in 1969. Hamilton, who sat out three games because of back stiffness, leads the majors with a .407 average and 40 RBIs.

"He's as locked in as any hitter can be right now," Scioscia said.


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