Pujols homers as Angels shut out Rangers

Pujols homers as Angels shut out Rangers

ARLINGTON -- Angels right-hander JC Ramirez threw six scoreless innings and the bullpen made it stand up in a 3-0 victory over the Rangers in the final game of the first half for both teams at Globe Life Park.

Ramirez had lost his last two outings and was 2-4 with a 7.07 ERA in his last seven starts before holding the Rangers to just two hits. He walked five, but the Rangers were 0-for-4 off him with runners in scoring position. Ramirez has defeated the Rangers twice in two starts this season.

Ramirez hurls six scoreless

"I think he got to do his stuff," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. 'His slider wasn't as crisp tonight, but he got his curveball in good counts and used his fastball very effectively. The six zeroes are huge, but it's not too often you're going to walk five guys in that span and come out unscathed. But he got some big outs. He got some big outs in the third and then again in the fifth. It's not easy to pitch a shutout in this park, and we've got four guys out there who put up zeroes. That's tough to do."

Ramirez received some run support while Rangers starter Yu Darvish did not. Albert Pujols gave the Angels a 1-0 lead in the first inning with his 13th home run of the season. A botched pickoff play led to another run in the sixth.

Pujols on homer, JC Ramirez

"It was a little bit disappointing to lose the last game before the All-Star break, but it was a good game," Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "Their guy pitched really well. He pitches well against us. Unfortunately, we couldn't put up any runs for Darvish."

Trout doubles in third rehab game

Darvish dropped his third straight decision and fell to 1-6 with a 4.23 ERA in his last nine starts.

Darvish strikes out six in 7 1/3

The Angels (45-47) and the Rangers (43-45) both finished with a losing record in the first half. They'll attempt to be only the second team to win a Wild Card spot despite having a losing record at the All-Star break since the system began in 1995. The only other team was the 1995 Yankees, who were 30-36 at the break.

"This isn't just about, 'Okay, we feel good, we won a game,'" Scioscia said. "We have to get better if we want to reach our goal, and we feel we will. We're really confident that we will get better as we move forward, and that's, I think, when we can start to build some momentum."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED

Simmons snuffs out Rangers: The Rangers bats kept finding Angels shortstop Andrelton Simmons at the wrong time. He made a terrific grab on Elvis Andrus' smash to lead off the fourth. Simmons was also in position against the Rangers left-handed hitters. He took away run-scoring hits from Rougned Odor in the fourth and Shin-Soo Choo in the fifth by being in position to field their ground balls straight up the middle. Simmons also had an RBI double in the eighth.

Simmons' nifty defensive play

Pickoff goes astray: Darvish had Ben Revere picked off second base with one out in the fifth. Revere tried for third and second baseman Odor's throw was too high for third baseman Drew Robinson. Revere slid in safely and then scored on Juan Graterol's sacrifice fly.

QUOTABLE

"We had data that said he wasn't hitting curveballs. They told me I could throw a curveball in any count. It was a 1-1 count, I threw a curveball, he sat back and hit it out." -- Darvish, on the home run by Pujols

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS

Darvish struck out six batters, giving him 937 for his career. That passes Colby Lewis for fifth-most in club history. Nolan Ryan is just ahead with 939.

WHAT'S NEXT

Angels: The Angels open the second half with a three-game series against the Rays in Anaheim on Friday at 7:07 p.m. PT. Outfielder Mike Trout, who has been on the disabled list since May 29 with a torn ligament in his left thumb, is expected to return to the lineup.

Rangers: Left-hander Martin Perez (4-6, 4.60 ERA) starts the first game after the All-Star break for the Rangers when they face the Royals at 7:05 p.m. (CT) Friday at Kauffman Stadium. He is 2-0 with a 4.50 ERA in his last four starts.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

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.

Sam Butler is a reporter for MLB.com based in Arlington who covered the Angels on Sunday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.