ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The Texas Rangers are trying, they just have nothing to show for their effort.
Albert Pujols and Howie Kendrick homered to give the Angels an early lead, and Los Angeles held on again to beat the Rangers 5-4 on Saturday night.
“They play hard every night,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “We just haven’t been able to put things together that we can walk off with a W, but they leave their heart out there every night. I’m proud of them.”
The Angels (72-49) are alone in first place in the AL West for the first time since 2011, but are only two percentage points ahead of the Oakland Athletics, who lost at Atlanta on Saturday.
The Rangers (47-76) are fifth in the division and have lost four in a row. Texas has lost its last nine to Los Angeles, tying the series record set during the 1985 season and matched a year later.
Angels starter Matt Shoemaker (11-4) pitched three perfect innings before Shin-Soo Choo led off the fourth with a home run, but by that time, the Angels led 5-0.
Huston Street worked a scoreless ninth inning for his 33rd save in 34 opportunities. It was the second straight night the Rangers rallied before losing 5-4.
Alex Rios’ two-run single with two out in the seventh inning broke his 0-for-16 slump and pulled Texas within a run. Adrian Beltre grounded out to end the inning.
“It don’t matter if you lose by one or 10,” Rios said. “It’s a loss.”
Pujols hit a solo homer in the first against starter Colby Lewis (8-10). Kendrick hit another solo shot in the second.
“We haven’t accomplished anything. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves,” Pujols said. “When we accomplish our goal, then we can talk about it.”
Los Angeles’ Chris Iannetta doubled home another run in the second, and Kole Calhoun singled to drive in two more in the fourth. Both hits, like Pujols’ homer, were with two out.
The Rangers pulled within 5-2 in the fourth on J.P. Arencibia’s run-scoring single that broke an 0-for-19 slump.
Lewis allowed five runs and 10 hits in six innings. He struck out 10 for the first time since June 17, 2012. The 10-year veteran’s career high is 12, posted May 10, 2012.
Rangers: Rios made his fourth consecutive start after aggravating a sprained right ankle on Aug. 10. RHP Yu Darvish (inflamed elbow) won’t travel with the team to Miami on Monday, and will continue treatment in Arlington.
Angels: Los Angeles activated RHP Mike Morin (left foot laceration) from the disabled list. He pitched an inning in relief.
The teams’ three-game series concludes on Sunday.
Texas RHP Nick Tepesch (4-7, 4.29) last faced the Angels on July 11, when he lost 3-0. Angels LHP Hector Santiago (3-7, 5.84) defeated the Rangers 15-6 on July 10 in Arlington.
Rangers LF Jim Adduci went 0-for-3 to extend his slump to 0-for-20. Angels CF Mike Trout went 0-for-5, stretching his drought to 0 for 16.
HOT HOT HOT
Texas CF Leonys Martin is 10 for 20 in his last five games, including two singles on Saturday.
Calhoun stretched his hitting streak to a season-high seven games. In six of those games, he has had multiple hits. He is batting .441 (15 for 34) during the streak. Calhoun has five RBIs in the series’ first two games.
Kendrick’s home run was his ninth in Arlington — the most he has hit in any road ballpark during his career.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.