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Rangers back Gray with 3 straight homers, beat Angels 5-1 to maintain AL West lead

Associated Press

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Adolis García, Mitch Garver and Nathaniel Lowe hit consecutive home runs in the sixth inning, and the first-place Texas Rangers beat the Los Angeles Angels 5-1 on Monday night for their sixth straight victory.

Texas maintained its 2 1/2-game lead in the AL West over Houston, which won 5-1 at Seattle to drop the skidding Mariners four games behind the Rangers with six to play.

“We were pretty quiet there through the first five innings and García woke us up there with his home run,″ Texas manager Bruce Bochy said. “We came alive and it was good to see the long ball.″

Marcus Semien also launched a solo homer for Texas, and Jon Gray (9-8) pitched six strong innings for his first win since Aug. 11. He had lasted fewer than four innings in three straight starts.

“He looked great and threw the ball really well,″ Bochy said. “He threw the one pitch that got away from him for the home run, but I just like the way he regrouped. He looked so focused out there tonight.″

One day after smacking six home runs against Seattle, the Rangers flexed their muscles again with three solo shots in a row off Jimmy Herget (2-4) to build a 3-1 lead. It was the ninth time in franchise history Texas hit three consecutive home runs — and the first since 2015.

Semien, who had two homers Sunday, added another one in the seventh. Jonah Heim scored on a wild pitch in the eighth.

“We have a room full of good hitters and everybody works extremely hard,″ Semien said.

“We are at the point of the season where this is what you play for and everyone is feeling good and it’s a good place to be.″

Texas trailed 1-0 before Herget, the third Angels pitcher, discovered why the Rangers lead the AL in homers.

Gray allowed a run and five hits with seven strikeouts.

“I felt like today I was a little better at not trying to make the perfect pitch every time,″ he said. “Just execute, that’s it.″

After warming up for the seventh, Gray was removed with right wrist tightness. Bochy said the move was precautionary.

“I hadn’t made it that far in a long time so I was not trying to do too much,″ Gray said.

Los Angeles loaded the bases against reliever Jonathan Hernández with two outs but he retired Eduardo Escobar on a grounder to end the threat.

Logan O’Hoppe homered early for the Angels. Patrick Sandoval exited in the fourth with tightness in his right oblique.

The left-hander was lifted after walking his first two batters in the inning, giving him five free passes in the game. Sandoval was making his 28th start of the season. He is 7-13 with a 4.11 ERA.

“Sandoval came out with really good stuff, which makes that injury tough for him,” Semien said. “He was throwing 96, 97 (mph) and he kept us off balance, but we just stayed the course.″

Sandoval was the first left-hander starter the Rangers had faced in 11 games. José Suarez relieved him and wriggled out of a jam.

With a first-inning double, Nolan Schanuel extended his on-base streak to begin his career to 27 games for the Angels — passing George Scott (1966) and Dick Howser (1961) for the fourth-longest in major league history.


Angels LHP Reid Detmers (3-10, 4.64 ERA) pitches the middle game of the series Tuesday. Texas had not announced a starter.



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