Taylor Ward helps Angels win despite a triple play turned by Rangers
Taylor Ward hit a tiebreaking RBI double during the Angels’ three-run sixth inning that ended with a triple play and Matt Duffy had a two-run home run among three hits as the Angels beat the Texas Rangers 5-2 on Tuesday night.
Ward doubled into the left-field corner to score Shohei Ohtani from first base against Dennis Santana (3-8), the first of three Texas relievers. Mike Ford and Jo Adell added RBI singles off John King.
With the bases loaded and none out, the Angels’ Max Stassi hit a sharp grounder to third base. Josh Jung fielded the ball behind the bag, stepped on the base, threw to second for a force, and Marcus Semien threw on to Nathaniel Lowe at first to complete the triple play. It was the Rangers’ second triple play this season — a club first — and the eighth in the franchise’s 51 seasons in Texas.
“You’re hoping to add a little more there,” Angels interim manager Phil Nevin said. “You’ve got to hit it hard to hit into a triple play, especially when you go the 5-4-3 route. Just an unfortunate play.”
Said Rangers interim manager Tony Beasley: “It was hit in the perfect spot. It led [Jung] to the base. Probably one of the easiest triple plays I’ve ever seen.”
The Angels were outslugged by the Seattle Mariners 9-1 on Monday and are officially eliminated from playoff contention.
Angels left-hander Patrick Sandoval (6-9) won after giving up the tying run in the fifth inning. Sandoval gave up both Rangers runs and three hits, striking out seven and walking four.
Three Angels relievers held the Rangers scoreless on two hits over four innings, with Jimmy Herget earning his sixth save in nine opportunities.
The Angels (65-83) have won four of their last five games and opened a lead of 1½ games over the Rangers (63-84) in the race to finish third in the American League West.
Sandoval has a 2.03 earned run average in his last nine starts.
“I tinkered with some things,” Sandoval said. “It’s really helped these last two months.”
Texas has lost 17 of its last 22 games to fall a season-worst 21 games below .500.
Sandoval gave up a first-inning RBI double to Corey Seager and didn’t yield another hit until the fifth. Bubba Thompson beat out a bunt for a two-out single and scored on Semien’s double to center.
Texas rookie starter Cole Ragans gave up two runs and seven hits. Ragans’ five strikeouts matched his big league high, and he didn’t walk a batter for the first time in his seven major league starts.
Duffy pulled a 3-2 fastball just inside the left-field foul pole for his second home run of the season. Both have come in his last eight games. Duffy was reinstated Aug. 29 after missing 52 games because of back spasms.
Kurt Suzuki plans to retire
Angels catcher Kurt Suzuki, 38, said before the game that he plans to retire after this season. ... The Angels recalled left-hander Rob Zastryzny from triple-A Salt Lake after optioning right-hander Jose Marte to Salt Lake after Monday’s game.
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