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Trout homers but Rangers rally to snap streak
By Maria Guardado and T.R. Sullivan
ANAHEIM -- Joey Gallo's go-ahead triple highlighted a three-run fifth inning and helped propel the Rangers to an 8-3 win over the Angels on Wednesday night at Angel Stadium.
The Rangers entered the fifth trailing, 3-2, but Angels starter Jesse Chavez allowed the first four batters of the inning to get on base, igniting a rally for Texas. Jonathan Lucroy drew a leadoff walk, Elvis Andrus singled and Gallo ripped a first-pitch fastball to right field for a two-run triple to put the Rangers ahead, 4-3. Jurickson Profar followed with an RBI single to right, his first hit of the season.
Carlos Gomez also crushed a solo home run off Angels reliever Yusmeiro Petit in the seventh, while Rougned Odor added a two-run triple in the ninth. Mike Napoli and Andrus got the scoring started for Texas with a pair of homers in the second inning.
With the win, the Rangers evened the three-game series between the division rivals and snapped the Angels' four-game winning streak.
"Today was a huge for us," Andrus said. "Now we have a chance to come back tomorrow and win the series. That's what we were looking for and what we want to do."
Texas starter A.J. Griffin picked up his first win of the season after allowing three runs on four hits over six innings. The 29-year-old right-hander gave up a pair of runs in the second and a solo homer to Mike Trout in the third that briefly gave the Angels a 3-2 lead, but he held the Halos scoreless over the final three innings of his outing.
Chavez, meanwhile, couldn't make it out of the fifth inning in his second start of the season, yielding five runs on five hits over 4 1/3 innings.
"The fifth inning kind of unraveled a little bit too soon before I could even put a stop to it," Chavez said. "That's something that we're going to hammer out tomorrow. It was one of those where we get a little bit too ahead of ourselves as far as getting to the next pitch before we even get to that one. That's something that I'll have to go back, look at video, do some homework tomorrow when I get here and pick it up the next day."
The Angels have yet to have a starter pitch past the sixth inning in their first nine games of 2017. They have had only one pitcher, Ricky Nolasco, complete six innings, which is the fewest of any Major League team.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Napoli and Andrus go deep: Napoli opened the scoring with his second home run of the season, a solo shot to right-center field off Chavez in the second. Andrus later extended the Rangers' lead to 2-0 with another solo shot to left-center. It was Andrus' third homer of the season and his second in as many days. It's the first time in his career Andrus has hit home runs in consecutive games and the first time he has hit more than one home run in April. The home run was projected by Statcast™ at 436 feet, Andrus' farthest since the beginning of 2015.
"I'm just trying to swing the same way I ended up last year," Andrus said. "So far it's paying off. I'm putting good swings on the ball and getting lucky. It's been a good wind the last few nights."
Trout's bomb: After the Angels erased an early two-run deficit on a pair of sacrifice flies from C.J. Cron and Danny Espinosa in the second, Trout temporarily put the Halos ahead, 3-2, by blasting a solo homer off Griffin in the third. Trout's third home run of the season had an exit velocity of 106 mph and traveled an estimated 425 feet, according to Statcast™.
Leclerc gets Trout: The biggest moment of the game came in the eighth when Jose Leclerc, with a runner on second and one out, entered the game with the Rangers ahead, 6-3, to face Trout and Albert Pujols. Leclerc got the job done in four pitches. He struck out Trout in three and retired Pujols on a pop to center to end the inning. "I got a little nervous but I took a little break and just threw strikes," Leclerc said. More >
"It was a good time winning, pitching in front of my friends and family. I'm from San Diego and they always drive up to see me."-- A.J. Griffin
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The Rangers have hit 16 homers in their first eight games. That's tied for the second most in club history. They hit 17 in the first eight games of 2009. They also hit 16 in the first eight games of '03 and '11.
WHAT'S NEXT Rangers: Right-hander Yu Darvish pitches Thursday at 2:37 p.m. CT against the Angels. Darvish is 7-2 with a 3.78 ERA in 13 career starts against the Angels. That's his most wins against any opponent.
Angels: The Angels will close out their three-game series with the Rangers on Thursday afternoon, with Nolasco (0-1, 3,86 ERA) taking the mound in his third start of the regular season. First pitch is scheduled for 12:37 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.