ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Angels added some unneeded drama Wednesday during the finale of a 10-game homestand that had already featured its share of setbacks.
The Angels held on for a 9-8 victory over the Texas Rangers after nearly squandering an eight-run lead after five innings.
Los Angeles went 5-5 on a homestand that started with Mike Trout being lost for eight weeks due to injury and ended with pitching coach Mikey Callaway being fired following a Major League Baseball investigation of sexual harassment allegations.
“We’ve had to battle baseball adversity, like every other team has. I’m really pleased and proud of the group,” said Joe Maddon, who got his 1,300th victory as a major league manager. “I would like to see this continue, so all this concern and work is showing up in regards to the win column.”
Los Angeles has won three straight for only the second time this season and is 4-5 since Trout was placed on the injured list due to a strained right calf.
Taylor Ward hit a three-run homer in the first inning and had a career-high five RBIs to lead an offense that had 12 hits for the second straight game.
Ward hit a drive to right-center on a slider from Dane Dunning (2-4) in a five-run first and drove in a pair of runs with a bloop single to left in a four-run fifth that boosted the lead to 9-1.
“It’s really fun to get the lineup going like we’re doing,” said Ward, who had the third three-hit game of his big league career and second against the Rangers. “We have a lot of great hitters on this team.”
If the Angels are going to contend, they must fix a bullpen that is 26th among the 30 teams with a 5.03 ERA. Starter Griffin Canning (4-3) allowed three runs and four hits in six innings, but Texas scored five times in the eighth off three relievers. Joey Gallo had a two-run homer, Brock Holt doubled in a run and Willie Calhoun hit a two-run double.
Nate Lowe — who started the rally from eight runs down with a two-run shot in the sixth — led off the ninth with an infield single, but Raisel Iglesias struck out Adolis García, Joey Gallo and Khris Davis for his eighth save in 10 chances.
“Obviously it’s difficult because these are guys you really are counting and feel really good about actually in a game. And having said that, I also believe that they’re going to be fine the next couple outings out,” Maddon said.. “Regardless of how we won it, we won it. And there’s times more recent where we took that game and lost it. So, I’ve got to see that as being a positive.”
Pitching coach Matt Wise and bullpen coach Dom Chiti had their interim tags removed following Callaway’s dismissal. Callaway, initially suspended Feb. 2., was fired after he was suspended by Commissioner Rob Manfred through at least the end of the 2022 season.
Texas’ Garcia tied Toronto’s Vladimir Guerriero Jr. for the major league with his 16th homer, a solo shot in the fourth. The rookie outfielder has homered 11 times in 24 games in May, one shy of the team record for May set by Josh Hamilton in 2012.
“What he is doing goes beyond what we kind of comprehend. He’s been fantastic,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “A lot of the guys are looking at what he is doing as something beyond worldly.”
UPTON TAKES TO LEADOFF ROLE
Justin Upton became the first Angels player to homer leading off back-to-back games since Trout did so as a rookie in 2012. Upton — who is in his 15th season — had never hit leadoff until Sunday,.
Dunning entered second among AL rookies with 48 strikeouts but wasn’t able to retire the Angels in order in four-plus innings. He allowed seven runs, seven hits and three walks with four strikeouts.
Rangers: OF David Dahl (rib soreness) was placed on the 10-day injured list after colliding with the wall while trying to chase down a home run Tuesday’. OF Jason Martin;s contract was selected from Triple-A Round Rock.
Angels: SS José Iglesias was not in the lineup due to a left hamstring cramp. … RHP Chris Rodriguez (right shoulder inflammation) and C Max Stassi (concussion) will begin rehab assignments this weekend at Triple-A Salt Lake. Rodriguez is expected to pitch on Friday.
Rangers: Head to Seattle to start a four-game series on Thursday. LHP Kolby Allard (1-0, 3.15 ERA) makes his first start since September after Kyle Gibson was placed on the 10-day IL due to a right groin strain.
Angels: RHP Shohei Ohtani (1-0, 2.37 ERA) makes his seventh start in the opener of a four-game series at Oakland. He is 2-1 with a 5.54 ERA in three previous starts against the Athletics.
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