ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) – Shortly after the Los Angeles Angels lost Howie Kendrick to a hyperextended knee, they lost yet another game to the Texas Rangers.
At least it didn’t happen on yet another late homer, which would have made an ugly day even more painful.
Adrian Beltre homered, Martin Perez pitched into the seventh inning, and the Rangers beat the Angels 5-2 Monday night after losing All-Star outfielder Nelson Cruz to a 50-game suspension.
Jurickson Profar had a run-scoring hit for the Rangers, who have won eight of 10 over Los Angeles this season, including three straight last week in Arlington on game-ending homers.
The Rangers got a few key bits of luck in this series opener well before the final innings: Elvis Andrus got credit for a two-run triple in the fifth when Kendrick awkwardly bent his left leg while failing to catch Andrus’ popup to the outfield.
Kendrick, one of the Angels’ best hitters this season, was trying to avoid sliding outfielder Colin Cowgill. The Angels don’t know how long he might be out.
“Hopefully it’ll only be a couple of days,” Kendrick said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever hyperextended my knee, so it’s something that I wish wouldn’t have happened. But me and Cowgill were both trying to make a play on the ball. I didn’t even really see him at all, and the next thing I know, we’re running into each other.”
Perez (4-3) limited the Angels to four hits and two runs, striking out a career-best seven in his first victory in five starts. Mark Trumbo and Cowgill drove in runs for the Angels, who managed just five hits.
“We had (Perez) on the ropes,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “I mean, we squared some balls up with guys in scoring position and didn’t have much to show for it. We didn’t get that big hit the bases loaded, but the guys had great at-bats and hit the ball hard.”
Los Angeles loaded the bases in the seventh and eighth innings, but the Texas bullpen escaped the jams both times on well-hit flyouts to right field.
Joe Nathan then pitched the ninth for his 33rd save.
Jerome Williams (5-8) yielded six hits and five runs while pitching into the sixth inning of his ninth straight winless start for the Angels.
Cruz might have been missed more in the field than at the plate in his first game out. David Murphy, usually a left fielder, took over in right field and misplayed two balls, although neither mistake seemed to be caused by the peculiarities of switching sides.
“I didn’t feel as comfortable as I felt in the past, or as comfortable as I feel in left,” Murphy said. “I think that’s obvious. But I know I can play out there.”
Texas still got off to a solid start in its life without Cruz, the Rangers’ leader with 27 homers and 76 RBIs — including his homer in Sunday’s victory in Oakland.
“It’s disappointing,” said second baseman Ian Kinsler. “But at the same time, we all love Nelson, and we’re going to support him through this, help him get through this. He’s serving the suspension like he should, and we’re going to help him go on with this.”
Trumbo doubled home Mike Trout with the Angels’ first run in the first inning when Murphy overran a catchable fly in the corner, allowing it to bounce next to him.
Williams was largely in control until the fifth, when Texas scored a run on a wild pitch and loaded the bases with one out. Andrus’ two-out pop to shallow right field should have been caught, but Kendrick and Cowgill both converged on the ball — and Kendrick lost it from his glove when he stepped awkwardly with his left leg while trying to avoid the sliding Cowgill.
Kendrick stayed down for a long moment before the Angels’ medical staff helped him off the field.
“I was in a lot of pain at the time,” Kendrick said. “It’s really sore, but I can put a little bit of pressure on it, so that’s always a good sign.”
The Rangers chased Williams in the sixth shortly after Beltre’s 24th homer. Profar put reliever Michael Kohn’s first pitch into left field for an RBI single and a 5-1 lead.
Los Angeles chased Perez and loaded the bases in the seventh, but Jason Frasor limited the Angels to one run, retiring pinch-hitter Kole Calhoun on a liner to right. Neal Cotts escaped another bases-loaded jam in the eighth after Murphy dropped a sliding catch in right, getting J.B. Shuck to fly out to the warning track.
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