Showdown in Anaheim: Rangers lose 6-1

Rangers vs. Angels

Credit: Getty Images

Rangers catcher Mike Napoli is waiting at home plate to put the tag on the Angels' Albert Pujols in the first inning of Friday's game. (Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images)

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by GREG BEACHAM

Associated Press

Posted on July 21, 2012 at 9:25 AM

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Mark Trumbo and Mike Trout homered, Jered Weaver pitched seven resilient innings to earn his 12th win, and the Los Angeles Angels opened a weekend showdown between the AL West's powers with a 6-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Friday night.

Erick Aybar hit a two-run double and Howie Kendrick drove in two early runs for the Angels, who trimmed Texas' division lead to five games with just their third win in eight games since the All-Star break.

Los Angeles relied on its All-Stars to take the series opener:

Trumbo hit his 27th homer and Trout added his 15th, while Weaver (12-1) persevered through 116 pitches and repeated trouble to win his sixth straight start and seventh consecutive decision since May 13. The Angels' ace yielded six hits and struck out four while improving to 7-0 this season at home, although his home ERA rose from a majors-best 0.58 to 0.67.

Elvis Andrus homered in the first inning for the Rangers, who had won five of seven.

Derek Holland (6-5) lost his first decision since May 30, giving up nine hits and six runs with no strikeouts.

Trumbo hit his sixth homer in nine days after an 11-pitch at-bat, culminating in a fearsome line drive over the fence in left-center in the sixth. His latest blast put him within one homer of the AL lead behind Chicago's Adam Dunn and Texas' slumping Josh Hamilton, who grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded in the third before slowing his 4-for-34 skid with an eighth-inning single.

Trout chased Holland with a two-out, opposite-field homer in the seventh. The All-Star rookie and AL batting leader scored a run in his 12th straight game, one off the AL rookie record and the Angels franchise record for any player.

Texas entered the series with the majors' second-best record and a six-game lead over the Angels, its largest of July. The Rangers have won the last two division titles and AL pennants, usurping the Angels atop the division they had won in five of the previous six years.

And this series is just the start of what could be a scintillating stretch run out West: The rivals meet 10 more times after this weekend.

Weaver got off to a rocky start: Andrus' one-out shot to left in the first inning was his first homer in 83 games. Los Angeles evened it later in the first when Trout singled, advanced on Albert Pujols' single and scored on Kendrick's double in the left-center gap, although the Rangers' throw to the plate easily got Pujols.

The Angels went ahead in the fourth when Pujols doubled and scored on Kendrick's groundout. Aybar then cleared the bases with a double, ending his first three-game hitless skid in two months.

Pujols had three hits for the Angels, improving his average to .281 — his highest since April 19.

NOTES: Trout is one game shy of the franchise record held by Jim Edmonds, who scored a run in 13 straight games in 1995. The 42-year-old former outfielder and Southern California native attended Friday's game, chatting with players during batting practice while his son hung out with Pujols, Edmonds' former teammate in St. Louis. ... No AL rookie had scored a run in 12 straight games since Don Lenhardt, who shares the record with 13 straight, did it in 1950. ... Yu Darvish pitches against Ervin Santana on Saturday, and Angels manager Mike Scioscia expects Dan Haren to return from the DL to start Sunday against 12-game winner Matt Harrison. ... Angels OF Vernon Wells began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Salt Lake, going 1-for-3 with a double. ... The sellout crowd at Angel Stadium received thousands of free ThunderStix, the inflatable noisemakers that became the stadium's signature during the Angels' run to the 2002 championship.

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