Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick slides safely into second base on… (Larry W. Smith / EPA )
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers got the best of former slugger Josh Hamilton and the Angels on Friday, with Ian Kinsler hitting a two-out, run-scoring single to right field in the eighth inning to lift the Rangers to a 3-2 victory at the Ballpark in Arlington.
Craig Gentry sparked the winning rally with a one-out bloop single to right off Angels left-hander Scott Downs. The speedy center fielder stole second and, after pinch-hitter Jeff Baker struck out, Kinsler lined a hard single to right.
Hamilton charged and made a strong and accurate throw home, but the ball one-hopped and skipped past catcher Chris Iannetta as Gentry scored. Texas closer Joe Nathan retired Albert Pujols and Hamilton on fly balls to start the ninth. Mark Trumbo walked, but Nathan got Howie Kendrick to fly to center, ending the game.
Hamilton, who played the previous five years in Texas before signing a five-year, $125-million deal with the Angels in December, went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and was booed vociferously before and during each of his plate appearances. His strikeouts in the second and fourth innings produced a pair of standing ovations.
The Angels held a 2-1 lead after Iannetta hit a solo home run to left field to lead off the third, his second homer of the season, and Mike Trout hit a bullet off the top of the left-field wall for a two-out, run-scoring double in the fifth.
But with two outs in the seventh, Rangers slugger Adrian Beltre ripped a shot off reliever Garrett Richards that bounced off the top of the left-field wall and over for a solo homer and a 2-2 tie.
Jason Vargas, making his Angels debut after last winter’s trade from Seattle, allowed one run and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings, striking out four and walking two, but it was a bit of a high-wire act for the left-hander.
After Nelson Cruz doubled and scored on A.J. Pierzynski’s triple to right in the second, Vargas escaped a runner-on-third, one-out jam to end the inning. He then got out of a first-and-third, two-out jam in the third, a two-on, two-out jam in the fourth and blanked the Rangers after allowing a leadoff double in the fifth.
Josh Hamilton: Football town thing ... an absolute nightmare
Magic Johnson, Mark Cuban agree on support of gay athletes
Kevin Ware back in spotlight with David Letterman's Top 10 List