ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Matt Harrison won his third straight start, Nelson Cruz hit a long two-run homer and the Texas Rangers beat the streaking Los Angeles Angels 7-3 on Sunday to avoid a three-game sweep.
The victory ended a four-game skid by the two-time defending AL champions, who lead the Angels by 4 1/2 games in the West. The clubs play 13 more times during the regular season.
Harrison (7-3) was charged with three runs and four hits in 6 2-3 innings after handing a 5-2 lead to the bullpen.
The left-hander, who started Game 7 of last year's World Series for the Rangers, departed after giving up a two-out single to Peter Bourjos and a walk to John Hester, who had homered his previous time up.
Mike Trout greeted Alexi Ogando with an RBI single and Alberto Callaspo walked, loading the bases for Albert Pujols, who cracked his bat on an inning-ending flyout to left field. The Rangers put it away with RBI singles in the ninth by Mike Napoli and Elvis Andrus.
Dan Haren (3-6) threw 104 pitches over five innings, allowing two runs and seven hits. The two-time All-Star, who is winless in his last five starts against Texas, ended a career-best streak of 25 strikeouts without a walk when Napoli drew a base on balls in the fourth. The franchise record for most strikeouts without a walk is 30, by Frank Tanana in May 1976.
Hester's first home run with the Angels was a solo shot to left-center that trimmed Texas' lead to 3-2 in the sixth, and was the first given up by Harrison in his last four starts.
But Cruz followed a leadoff single in the seventh by Michael Young with his eighth homer, a titanic drive that reached the championship flag poles in left-center after manager Ron Washington gave Cruz the green light on a 3-0 pitch from Bobby Cassevah. The ball was estimated to have traveled 484 feet, making it the longest home run in the majors this season, according to the Angels based on information from ESPN Home Run Tracker.
The Rangers staked Harrison to a 2-0 lead with an RBI double by Andrus in the third and two-out RBI single by Young in the fifth. Young's hit to first base deflected off the glove of Pujols, who was playing even with the bag with runners at the corners.
The Angels, who had won 10 of their previous 11, got on the board in the fifth after Mark Trumbo drew a leadoff walk and came all the way around on a two-out double to left by Erick Aybar — Los Angeles' first hit off Harrison. Aybar was 1 for 14 against him prior to that at-bat.
David Murphy led off the Rangers' sixth with a leadoff double against Cassevah and scored their third run on a groundout by Ian Kinsler.
NOTES: The Angels' game on Monday night against Seattle at the "Big A" will be Mike Scioscia's 2,000th as a major league manager during the regular season — all with Los Angeles. The only coach who has been on Scioscia's staff the entire time is 1B coach Alfredo Griffin. ... Trout was named AL rookie of the month for May. At age 20, he is the second-youngest player in the majors behind Washington's 19-year-old Bryce Harper, who was named NL rookie of the month for May. Trout batted .324 last month with five homers, 16 RBIs, six doubles, two triples, 11 walks, 21 runs scored and eight stolen bases in 27 games. He is the first Angels player to be named rookie of the month since Robb Quinlan in July 2004. ... This was the eighth time this season that the Angels had Trout, Bourjos and Trumbo all starting in the same outfield (4-4). RF Torii Hunter was the designated hitter, and Vernon Wells is recovering from right thumb surgery on May 22.