ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - Howie Kendrick was in full sprint toward second base, trying to get into scoring position for the potential tying run for the Los Angeles Angels. He never made it.
Kendrick was thrown out trying to steal on a game-ending double play as Albert Callaspo struck out in a 5-4 loss to the Texas Rangers on Sunday.
``Callaspo is one of the hardest guys to strike out the last three or four years. The guy makes contact no matter who's throwing. He threw a high fastball, he swung through it, and it was an easy throw for the catcher,' Kendrick said. ``You can't shut it down, so you're kind of in no man's land.'
The catcher was Mike Napoli, who before being traded during the offseason had spent his entire career with the Angels.
Despite losing two of three games in the series against the defending American League champions, the Angels (21-19) left Texas still with a half-game lead in the division.
``They were intense, close games. That's all you can ask for. It's disappointing to lose a series, but we've got to throw this out the window, move on to Oakland and Seattle,' Torii Hunter said. ``When we play these guys, the fans get what they paid for. They battle us, we battle them, and it's fun. I like baseball like that.'
Erick Aybar had three hits and drove in three runs for the Angels.
Aybar hit his second homer of the season, both in this series, and had a two-run single in the sixth that tied the game at 4.
The Angels had a scoring chance thwarted in the top of the eighth after Alexi Amarista's one-out triple off reliever Brett Tomko. Amarista was caught in a rundown when third baseman Adrian Beltre was playing in, then fielded Peter Bourjos' chopper and threw home.
``Every time we play these guys, it seems to come down to the wire, especially here where anything can happen,' Kendrick said. ``It's always back and forth, and it's divisional play. It's a tough loss, but we've got to keep moving. I think we'll bounce back like we have all year.'
Rich Thompson (1-2) replaced Angels starter Ervin Santana in the eighth. Thompson issued consecutive walks to Beltre and David Murphy before Napoli's checked swing turned into a bloop single barely past the infield dirt. Napoli was in a 4-for-42 slide over 16 games until that hit.
``Amazing, it's awesome, it's the greatest feeling ever,' Napoli said. ``I enjoyed every moment I ran down that line. It was awesome.'
Chris Davis, who had already homered, then drove home the tiebreaking run with a single to right on a 1-2 slider off Hisanori Takahashi.
Beltre's three-run homer in the third just cleared the 14-foot wall in left field. His 10th homer of the season was his third in the past four games.
``Bad mistake, middle in,' said Santana, who has won only once in his nine starts this season.
Santana struck out three while allowing four runs.
Rangers starter C.J. Wilson was gone after giving up consecutive singles to start the sixth.
Jeff Mathis then had a sacrifice bunt, and also reached when Beltre bobbled the ball without a throw for an error. Pinch-hitter Bobby Abreu struck out and Bourjos hit a shallow fly to center before Aybar's two-out single to right for two unearned runs that tied the game at 4.
An inning earlier, Aybar hit his 16th career homer (1,732 at_bats in 513 games). Seven have come against Texas.
The Rangers took advantage of consecutive fielding flubs to load the bases in the first, but then failed to score.
Elvis Andrus hit a grounder to the right side, reaching on an error when Santana dropped the toss from first baseman Mark Trumbo.
Ian Kinsler then hit a high popup and was credited with his first hit when the ball dropped untouched between second baseman Kendrick and Trumbo. Kendrick was calling for the ball, but suddenly backed off at the last second, as did Trumbo when he realized how close he was to his teammate.
``We didn't play our best ball game. With some guys in scoring position, they made some pitches and minimized some damage,' manager Mike Scioscia said. ``We didn't do enough. We have to pick up the pieces of that game. ... It's no barometer of things to come. We know what we need to clean up and do better.'
Notes: Mark Lowe (1-0) got out the only batter he faced before Neftali Feliz pitched the ninth for his eighth save in eight chances. ... Maicer Izturis went 0 for 5, including a foul popout to end the eighth, to snap his 10-game hitting streak for the Angels. ... Before scoring in the first, Bourjos was leading off third base when Izturis lined a ball that struck the runner on the back of the leg when turned to try to avoid it. Since Bourjos was in foul territory, it was just a foul ball.
The Associated Press News Service
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