Anaheim, CA (Sports Network) – Vladimir Guerrero continued to torment his old team, going 4-for-4 with two homers and five RBI, as the Texas Rangers evened this three-game set with a 6-4 win over the rival Angels.
Guerrero, who spent the last six seasons with the Angels, has had a huge year for the Rangers and now has three home runs and eight RBI in the first two games of this series alone. He has already eclipsed last season’s home run total with his 17th and 18th of 2010 and has been one of the most productive players in the American League.
It was the third multi-homer game of the season for Guerrero and the 42nd of his career. The Rangers have now won 14 of 16 overall and will look for their franchise-record ninth straight series win in the rubber match on Thursday.
Dustin Nippert (3-3) recorded the win after allowing one run in three innings, and Neftali Feliz notched his 21st save of the season. Meanwhile, Josh Hamilton’s career-best hit streak increased to 23 with a 1-for-3 effort.
Erick Aybar homered and drove in two runs for the Angels, who still managed to finish June with an excellent 18-9 mark. Scott Kazmir (7-7) struggled in losing his second straight start, giving up five runs, six hits and a walk in just 4 2/3 innings.
The Rangers trailed by three entering the fourth, but one swing of the bat from Guerrero put Texas ahead for good.
Kazmir got in some trouble when he hit leadoff hitter Elvis Andrus, and Michael Young followed with a double. After Ian Kinsler walked on a full count, Guerrero came up and crushed a 2-0 pitch over the wall in center for a grand slam and a 4-3 Rangers advantage.
In the fifth, Andrus laced a one-out single, moved to second on a groundout and scored on Kinsler’s base hit, which ended Kazmir’s outing.
The Angels looked to get back into the game in the sixth, trimming their deficit to one on Aybar’s RBI groundout. LA nearly tied it, as Howie Kendrick and Bobby Abrey followed with consecutive two-out singles and executed a double steal, but Torii Hunter lined out to end the inning.
Guerrero, though, gave the Rangers some breathing room again with his second home run of the game — a solo shot — to deep center leading off the eighth.
The Angels never brought the tying run to the plate in either of the final two innings.
Omar Beltre, making his major league debut in a spot start for Texas, ran into some trouble rather quickly, as he allowed a home run to the first batter he faced in the majors — Los Angeles’ Aybar. The Angels tacked on two more runs in the second on a two-run single from Reggie Willits for a 3-0 advantage.
The Rangers finished June 21-6, and the .778 winning percentage is the highest for a single month in franchise history…Texas leads the season series, 3-1…Hamilton finished the month with a franchise record 49 hits, nine homers and 31 RBI…Beltre finished the game allowing three runs, five hits and four walks while fanning six in four innings…Angels third baseman Kevin Frandsen went four plate appearances without striking out and has now struck out just once over his last 89 PAs…Guerrero has 68 RBI this season, tied for the most in the majors with Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera, and he hit his seventh career grand slam.