Miscues derail Angels

The Angels dutifully tipped their caps to Texas Rangers rookie Derek Holland after the left-hander threw a complete game at Angel Stadium for his first shutout.

But to hear the Angels tell it, their 7-0 loss to the Rangers was as much about their sloppy defense -- and the problems it caused Angels starter John Lackey -- as it was about getting only three singles against Holland.

"We played bad defense today and that's what cost us the game," said right fielder Bobby Abreu, who dropped a routine fly ball in the fourth inning that resulted in the Rangers' first two runs.

Speaking of Holland (5-7), Abreu said "we understand the kid threw a pretty good game, he's got to get credit for that. But besides that we didn't play good defense."

Holland, a 22-year-old Ohio native, made the most of his first start against the Angels, throwing hitless ball through 5 2/3 innings and not allowing a runner past first base.

Texas' victory in front of 35,706 gave the Rangers their fifth consecutive series win against the Angels, and Texas climbed back to within 3 1/2 games of the Angels' lead in the American League West.

For a frustrated Lackey (7-5), it was his first loss after four consecutive wins even though "that's the best I pitched this year."

"There's no excuses, it happens every now and again," he said of the poor defense. "We've played pretty good defense all year so it will be fine."

Holland didn't give up a hit until the sixth inning, when Maicer Izturis singled. At that point Holland had been a model of efficiency, having thrown only 57 pitches.

Lackey threw 131 pitches -- the highest of his career and the highest for an Angels starter this season -- before leaving in the seventh inning.

He didn't surrender a hit until the fourth inning, when Marlon Byrd singled.

But after Byrd was forced out at second on a grounder by Josh Hamilton, Hank Blalock hit another grounder to the right side fielded by Howie Kendrick. Lackey and first baseman Robb Quinlan couldn't decide who should cover first base and take the throw. By the time they did, Blalock was safe.

Esteban German then hit a fly ball to right field that should have ended the inning. But Abreu dropped it, enabling Hamilton and Blalock to score the Rangers' first two runs.

Texas scored a run in the fifth inning after loading the bases -- partly because David Murphy was awarded first base because of interference on his swing by catcher Jeff Mathis -- and Byrd singling to left field.

That scored Elvis Andrus. But Michael Young was thrown out at home by left fielder Juan Rivera, with Mathis blocking the plate.

And in the seventh inning, after Julio Borbon singled and stole second, center fielder Gary Matthews Jr. appeared to lose a deep fly ball hit by Murphy. The ball landed over Matthews' head, Borbon moved to third base and later scored on Byrd's sacrifice.

"It's one of the worst defensive games we've seen in quite some time," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "It goes without saying that John didn't get a lot of support out there.

"We're going to turn a page on this one."

As for letting Lackey throw 131 pitches, Scioscia said "he was still throwing the ball very well. . . . I don't anticipate any effects coming back for his next start."

Texas catcher Taylor Teagarden hit a two-run home run in the eighth inning, his second home run of the series, and Byrd had a solo home run in the ninth inning.




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