ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) - The Los Angeles Angels found out firsthand what the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners discovered last week - the Texas Rangers are a difficult team to score against.
Alexi Ogando extended an extraordinary run by Texas pitchers with eight innings of four-hit ball and the streaking Rangers beat the sputtering Angels 7-0 Tuesday night for their 12 straight victory.
``We've just got to get back to swinging the bats,' Angels second baseman Howie Kendrick said. ``Our pitching's been pretty good all year, and for the longest time we were in this game tonight. We had a couple chances early, but the guy made his pitches. He's been good all year, and tonight he didn't leave much out over the plate.'
The defending AL champions, making their first visit to Anaheim since ending the Angels' run of three straight AL West titles, increased their lead in the division to a season-best five games over Los Angeles. The Angels were a game out of first place at the All-Star break before dropping four of five.
Texas' winning streak is the second-longest in club history behind a 14-game run in 1991, and it has put the Rangers (56-41) a season-high 15 games over .500. They have outscored opponents 77-24 during this stretch, and the pitching staff has yielded two earned runs over the last six games - including four shutouts.
``Our pitching staff's done an incredible job in the last couple of weeks. And it goes without saying that we believe in our lineup,' designated hitter Michael Young said. ``We know we're playing good baseball, but in no way, shape or form are we satisfied. We're happy right now, but we're not satisfied. We're capable of bigger and better things.'
Tyler Chatwood (5-6) gave up three runs, seven hits and four walks in five innings. The 21-year-old rookie is 0-4 with a 5.54 ERA in his last five starts at Angel Stadium, where Los Angeles had won 11 of 13.
``I've got to cut down on walks. That's been an issue all season,' Chatwood said. ``I've got to stop trying to nitpick and just go after them.'
The shutout loss was the Angels' 11th, and six of those games were started by Chatwood.
The Angels' best scoring chance came in the third, but Bobby Abreu stranded runners at second and third with a groundout.
Erick Aybar led off the fifth with a drive to left-center and tried to stretch it into a triple, but was thrown out. Mark Trumbo followed with his second double of the game, but it turned out to be Los Angeles' final hit.
Chatwood could only blame himself for a fourth-inning run that extended Texas' lead to 2-0. He walked Mike Napoli on a 3-2 pitch with two outs, then let a grounder by Endy Chavez go under his glove and into center field for a hit that put runners at the corners. Ian Kinsler drove in Napoli with a single.
Napoli, who spent his first five big league seasons with the Angels, was 2 for 3 with a pair of walks and scored twice in his first game at Anaheim since Los Angeles traded him and Juan Rivera to Toronto for Vernon Wells on Jan. 21. Four days later, Napoli was dealt to Texas for reliever Frank Francisco.
``It was tough. I thought I brought it to the table here, but obviously they thought they had to make a move,' Napoli said. ``I learned a lot when I was here. It was weird to walk in on the other side today, but I'm a Texas Ranger now and I love it there. This is my new home and my new team, and I'm the enemy now. We're having a lot of fun over here and we're a big family. We go out on the field and try to play for each other and not for ourselves.'
Ogando (10-3) won his third straight start and first since July 6, lowering his ERA to 2.72. He struck out five, including Torii Hunter three times. The All-Star right-hander's only other career start against the Angels was on May 13, when he outpitched current major league ERA leader Jered Weaver in a 4-1 victory.
Chavez, the No. 9 batter, hit a two-run homer in the eighth against reliever Michael Kohn. The rookie right-hander also gave up solo shots to Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre in the ninth.
Rangers part-owner and team president Nolan Ryan was scheduled to throw a first pitch and take part in a pregame ceremony inducting former Angels owner Gene Autry posthumously into the Angels Hall of Fame. But the 64-year-old Ryan, baseball's all-time leader in strikeouts and no-hitters, was resting at home after undergoing tests on his heart at a Houston hospital.
NOTES: Rookie C Hank Conger was optioned to Triple-A Salt Lake to open a roster spot for Chatwood, who made a minor league start last Thursday so he could remain on his regular routine and work on his changeup. Conger batted .214 in 50 games with five homers and 16 RBIs, and threw out only eight of 56 runners attempting to steal. ... Autry is the ninth person to be inducted into the Angels Hall of Fame, along with Ryan, Jim Fregosi, Bobby Grich, Rod Carew, Chuck Finley, Don Baylor, Brian Downing and the late Jimmie Reese. Ryan's youngest son, Reese, was named after the Angels' former conditioning coach. ... Chatwood has allowed one home run over his last 11 starts and 66 2-3 innings, a two-run shot by Tampa Bay's Justin Ruggiano on June 6 at Angel Stadium. ... Hunter, who turned 36 on Monday, is 0 for 18 since the break. He still leads the Angels with 45 RBIs, the second-fewest by any player currently leading his club in that department. Seattle's Miguel Olivo has a team-high 40.
The Associated Press News Service
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