Cron's HR powers Angels past Rangers
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- C.J. Cron's two-run homer capped a five-run sixth inning to help lift the Los Angeles Angels to a 7-6 win over the Texas Rangers on Friday night at Angel Stadium.
The Angels also got offensive help from Justin Upton, who doubled twice, drove in one run and scored twice. Andrelton Simmons had two singles and two RBIs.
A big night from the offense was something for which the Angels were particularly hopeful, considering they went into the game without a starting pitcher.
It was Andrew Heaney's turn in the rotation, but Heaney is out with a shoulder impingement, which forced him out of his last start last Saturday in Seattle. The Angels decided to go with a bullpen "relay," starting the game with closer Bud Norris, who went two-plus innings before passing the baton.
In all, the Angels used seven pitchers to get through the nine innings. Blake Parker pitched the final two innings for his sixth save. Yusmeiro Petit (5-0) pitched two scoreless innings to get the win.
The victory allowed the Angels to close the gap in the race for the second American League wild-card spot, moving within two games of the Minnesota Twins, who lost Friday to Toronto. The Rangers, still with an outside shot, remained five games out.
Nick Martinez (3-7) started for Texas and gave up four runs, six hits and one walk in 5 1/3 innings. Brett Nicholas had two hits and two RBIs for the Rangers from the No. 9 spot, and Will Middlebrooks had two hits. Shin-Soo Choo hit a two-run homer.
Cron's homer in the sixth inning was his 15th of the season and gave the Angels a 7-4 lead, but that lead was threatened in the eighth.
Cam Bedrosian entered the game on the mound for the Angels and the Rangers loaded the bases with no outs on two singles and a walk. Parker replaced Bedrosian and gave up consecutive sacrifice flies to Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre -- both runs charged to Bedrosian -- as the Rangers got within 7-6.
Rangers starter Nick Martinez held the Angels scoreless on one hit through three innings before Justin Upton led off the fourth with a double. One out later, Kole Calhoun hit one off the top of the short wall down the line in left field for an RBI double.
Andrelton Simmons followed with a single to right field, driving in Calhoun for a 2-0 Angels lead.
The Angels, meanwhile, were effective with their bullpen approach in the early innings. Norris, who leads the club with 19 saves, started and pitched two perfect innings before giving up a leadoff single in the third.
Jose Alvarez entered the game and retired all four batters he faced, handing the ball to Blake Wood with one out in the fourth. Wood retired both batters he faced to finish the inning.
Jesse Chavez started the fifth but gave up an infield single to Joey Gallo and a double to Middlebrooks with one out. With runners on second and third, Chavez struck out Rougned Odor, but Nicholas singled to left, driving in both runners to tie the score at 2.
NOTES: Angels CF Mike Trout went 1-for-4 with a single, continuing his personal trend of struggling in the last month of the season. In 13 September games, Trout is hitting .244 (11 for 45) with one homer and two RBIs. For his career, Trout has a .278 batting average and .920 OPS in September/October -- numbers that are worse for him than any other month of the season. ... Rangers 1B/DH Mike Napoli will be limited to pinch hitting and possibly an occasional start at DH because of stress reaction in his lower right leg. The injury flared up in the past few weeks, but has reached a point where playing in the field is not an option. ... Rangers C Robinson Chirinos was not in the starting lineup, getting a day off for rest. He has reached base in 28 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the majors and sixth longest in the American League this season.