Angels hold off Rangers, 5-3

KEY MOMENT: First baseman C.J. Cron, called up from triple A on Saturday, capped a three-hit night in his major league debut with a two-out, broken-bat, run-scoring single to left field against reliever Shawn Tolleson to break a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning.

AT THE PLATE: Howie Kendrick, who doubled ahead of Cron’s hit in the sixth and had a run-scoring double in the eighth, had four hits and is 25 for 65 (.385) in his last 16 games, raising his average from .226 to .314. … Cron, who singled in the first and doubled in the third, became the first Angels player since 1979 to drive in a run on the first major league pitch he saw. He is the fourth player in Angels history, and first since Kendrys Morales, to collect three hits in his major league debut. Collin Cowgill also finished with three hits.

ON THE MOUND: It was a grind, but Garrett Richards made it through six innings, giving up three runs and nine hits and striking out nine batters, a career high, including Elvis Andrus on a breaking ball with runners on first and third to end the sixth inning. Richards threw 30 pitches during in the fourth inning, giving up three runs and five hits. Reliever Fernando Salas retired the side in order in the seventh, and deposed closer Ernesto Frieri threw a one-two-three eighth, striking out two.

ROSTER MOVES: The injury to third baseman David Freese, who does not expect to be sidelined for more than 15 days, set off a flurry of moves for the Angels, who called up Cron and third baseman Luis Jimenez from triple A and sent outfielder J.B. Shuck to Salt Lake. Jimenez will split time with Ian Stewart at third base, and Cron will share the designated hitter spot with Raul Ibanez and spell Albert Pujols at first base.


IN THE FIELD: Grant Green, making his first big league start in left field, made a nice leaping catch at the wall to rob Adrian Beltre of a double to lead off the seventh inning. … Shortstop Erick Aybar made a superb diving stop of Leonys Martin’s sixth-inning grounder and, from one knee, threw to first base for the out.

UP NEXT: Left-hander Tyler Skaggs (2-0, 3.34 ERA) will oppose Rangers right-hander Yu Darvish (1-1, 2.59 ERA) at Angel Stadium on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. On the air: FS West. Radio: 830.

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