AP Sports Writer
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Miles Mikolas got through five innings in his third start for the Texas Rangers with a lead against the highest-scoring team in the majors.
Like so many other newcomers and fill-ins on the injury-riddled Rangers roster, Mikolas still has plenty to learn at the major-league level.
Mikolas didn’t make it through the sixth and the Rangers lost 5-2 to the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday night. It was their seventh straight loss.
“I’ve got to do a better job keeping my focus and making those pitches into the sixth and seventh inning,” Mikolas said.
Howie Kendrick celebrated his 31st birthday with three hits, including a game-tying RBI single during a four-run sixth inning as the Angels won for the ninth time in 10 games. David Freese hit a go-ahead single and Hank Conger then had a two-run double off Mikolas (0-2).
“I thought he executed. Some pretty good hitters got him there in that sixth inning to get things going,” manager Ron Washington said. “You also have to stay out there and figure out a way to make pitches to minimize the damage.”
Mikolas struck out three and walked one in 5 2-3 innings.
The Rangers have dropped 21 of 24. They have the worst winning percentage in the majors, .404 with their 38-56 record.
Angels left fielder Collin Cowgill left the game with blood gushing from the bridge of his nose after he was struck in the face by a pitch when he squared to bunt in the eighth. He immediately put his hand over his face and started walking toward the dugout.
The Angels said he was alert and got stitches before being taken to a hospital for further evaluation.
“It was obviously an unfortunate turn of events there,” Scioscia said. “He’s going to obviously go for some tests.”
The pitch by Matt West went over the bat and appeared to hit Cowgill flush on the face. It wasn’t clear if the ball tipped off the bat before hitting Cowgill.
Jered Weaver (10-6) pitched seven strong innings five days after going only two innings his previous start because of tightness in his lower back. The big right-hander limited the Rangers to two runs and four hits with three strikeouts and three walks.
The Angels ace noticed that there was no signal to the bullpen when manager Mike Scioscia was walking toward him in the seventh inning, with a runner on base and one out.
“Usually he kind of makes the call about halfway out to the mound, and didn’t do it this time, and I felt like he wanted to see how I was feeling,” Weaver said. “It was nice to be able to get those last two outs.”
Joe Smith got his 14th save in 18 chances with a perfect ninth. It was his ninth consecutive appearance of at least an inning without allowing a hit.
Texas led 2-0 in the second after Carlos Pena had a one-out double and Robinson Chirinos was hit by a pitch. No. 9 batter Rougned Odor hit an RBI double before Chirinos came home on a groundout by Shin-Soo Choo.
Conger reached on an error by Pena at first base to start the third. Conger scored on a sacrifice fly by Albert Pujols with the bases loaded, with rookie left fielder Jake Smolinski making a diving catch fully extended in the left-center field gap to prevent more runs from scoring.
That was an inning after Smolinski made a diving backhanded catch to take a hit away from Josh Hamilton.
“The game situation at the time was close,” Smolinski said. “It felt like momentum was going our direction at the time.”
NOTES: Rangers All-Star 3B Adrian Beltre’s 15-game hitting streak ended. He was 0 for 3 with a walk. … Eric Nadel, who will be honored at baseball’s Hall of Fame in two weeks for winning the Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in baseball broadcasting, was recognized in a pregame ceremony. This is Nadel’s 20th year as the lead voice on Rangers radio broadcasts, and his 36th with the team. He was joined on the field by the broadcasters from the Dallas Cowboys, Dallas Mavericks and Dallas Stars and presented a crystal microphone.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.