Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun pushed his momentum up, up, up, trusting that he would get his 5-foot-10 frame high enough off the warning-track dirt to steal a hit at Globe Life Park. A fly ball hurtled through the air seconds earlier Tuesday evening. It didn’t seem like it would clear the fence easily, so Calhoun gave chase.
But as the right fielder bumped the left side of his body into the outfield wall and reached his gloved right hand over the padding, it became apparent he had done something wrong.
The ball glanced off Calhoun’s glove and over the fence in the fourth inning for Asdrubal Cabrera’s sixth home run of the season for the Texas Rangers.
As he dropped to the ground and Cabrera and another Ranger rounded the bases, Calhoun reached into the pocket of his empty glove. He turned around, removed the mitt and bent over with his hands on his knees to stare at the ground.
“You don’t ever want to see that happen,” Calhoun said afterward. “We’re out there trying to save runs for our pitchers, and I might have given them two there. As a guy who takes pride in his defense, to see that ball pop over, it sucks.”
For a second consecutive night, futility reigned supreme for the Angels. They lost again to the Rangers, only this time they never scored in a 5-0 defeat that dropped them under .500 at 8-9.
Rangers starter Mike Minor (2-1) was dominant in recording his first career shutout. The left-hander threw 10 or fewer pitches in six of his nine innings. He scattered three hits — all singles. He issued two walks and struck out seven. The Angels only had two runners on base in the same inning once.
“He threw his fair share of balls, but he was getting outs, getting double plays,” said Andrelton Simmons, who had two hits off his former Atlanta Braves teammate. “We hit a couple balls good, but we weren’t getting any breaks. But you have to credit him too because he pitched well. We have to do better, but he did his part. We tip our cap, but we have to come back better tomorrow.”
Minor didn’t even walk Mike Trout, who had taken nine free passes in his previous five games against the Rangers. The only way the Angels’ designated hitter reached was when he beat out a groundball hit down the first base line. Trout sprinted at 30.6 feet per second down the line. The best home-to-first-base speed last year belonged to the Minnesota Twins’ Byron Buxton at 30.5 feet per second.
“Trout hit a foul ball for a base hit because he’s the best player ever,” Calhoun said of his teammate, who was playing in his second game since straining his groin a week ago.
Angels starter Jaime Barria (1-1) didn’t come close to matching Minor. He threw 51 of his 79 pitches for strikes and commanded his fastball, slider and changeup. But he also gave up six hits, four runs and two walks in five innings. He struck out three.
“I thought he did a good job,” Angels manager Brad Ausmus said of his 22-year-old starter. “A solid job. Just Minor was better. … Probably the best we’ve seen all year, really.”
Barria allowed two hits at the jump, giving up a leadoff double to Shin-Soo Choo in the first inning and another two-base hit to Nomar Mazara two batters later that allowed Choo to score.
In the fourth, Barria walked Angels nemesis Joey Gallo with two outs. Then he served Cabrera a belt-high fastball that was driven toward Calhoun in right field, the only pitch of the night Barria regretted. A replay of the home run seemed to show that the baseball wouldn’t have gone over the fence without Calhoun’s help.
“I honestly thought that was a home run,” Barria said in Spanish. “I think Calhoun makes an effort on every play, and he did it there. Unfortunately, it hit him in the glove and the ball went out. But I think Calhoun gives 100 percent on every play.”
Barria departed after allowing a leadoff single to Hunter Pence in the sixth. Ausmus summoned left-hander Dillon Peters, who was added to the Angels’ bullpen from triple-A Salt Lake earlier in the day.
It was a matchup call. Gallo, a left-handed hitter, was due up after Pence.
But Peters could not fool Gallo, who has hit a home run in each of the five games he has played against the Angels this season. The slugger scooped a 1-0 fastball that dropped inside onto his bat. He launched it 439 feet down the right field line and into the concourse for a homer.
This time, Calhoun had no chance.