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Angels complete sweep of Rangers

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[September 12, 2014]  ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Los Angeles Angels continued to play like the best team in baseball, finishing a three-game sweep of the lowly Texas Rangers with a 7-3 win on Thursday night at Globe Life Park.

The middle part of the Angels' batting order provided much of the punch. Third baseman David Freese and shortstop Erick Aybar had two RBIs each and pinch-hitter Grant Green added two RBIs in his lone at-bat in the top of the eighth inning.

The victory boosted the Angels' winning streak to eight, a feat they haven't accomplished since May 2013.

Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin led off the bottom of the first inning with a 348-foot home run that hugged the foul line before sneaking over the wedge in the right field corner. It was Martin's first leadoff home run of his career and seventh homer of the season.

The Angels answered in the top of the second inning. Aybar ripped a home run into the right-field seats, scoring second baseman Howie Kendrick to put Los Angeles up 2-1.

Rangers starting pitcher Nick Martinez allowed two unearned runs in the top of the third inning.

After right fielder Kole Calhoun reached on an error by Martin, left fielder Mike Trout was hit by a pitch. Both scored on Freese's single up the middle to extend the Angels' lead to 4-1.

"(Martinez) was pretty sharp with his fastball," said Rangers interim-manager Tim Bogar. "The third inning he had to get an extra out. He got two and made a mistake, hanging a slider to Freese."

Trout's run gave him an American League leading 103 on the season and is currently on pace to become the first player in MLB history to lead either league in runs scored in his first three MLB seasons.

"It means a lot (to make history)," said Trout. "You set goals at the beginning of the year and as one of the first few guys in the lineup it's my job to get on base and score runs. I'm going to keep the same approach. It's been working and whatever I can do to help my team win I'm going to do."

After issuing a walk to Calhoun to start the fifth inning, Martinez plunked Trout for a second time, drawing the ire of Angels manager Mike Scioscia.

Trout, who was hit three times in the last two games, was visibly frustrated, lingering in the box before sauntering down the line to first base.

"I'm sure Martinez wasn't trying to hit him," said Scioscia. "But when you're pitching inside you can't pitch with reckless abandon. You have to have the command to be able to do it."

"When you go up to bat you aren't thinking about getting hit," said Trout. "It hit me in the same spot as the night before. I'll be fine, it's just a little sore."

Bogar said the Rangers pitching staff was instructed to throw Trout inside and that all three occasions were unintentional.

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Martinez deftly worked his way out of the jam, getting designated hitter Albert Pujols to fly out to right and Kendrick to roll into a double play to end the threat.

"The fifth inning, I thought it was big." Bogar said. "He hit Trout and then got Pujols to fly out and got the big double play from Kendrick."

With two outs in the bottom of the fifth inning, Rangers right fielder Michael Choice roped line drive up the middle, moving left fielder and fellow rookie Ryan Rua to second base. Facing left-handed specialist Michael Roth, Martin drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases, bringing up shortstop Elvis Andrus. On the first pitch of his at-bat, Andrus stepped to the plate and promptly grounded out to reliever Mike Morin to end the threat.

Martinez sat the Angels down in order in the sixth inning before being pulled. He finished with four hits and four runs, including two earned over six innings of work. It was the rookie's 19th time in 21 starts to complete at least five innings in a start.

"I think Martinez (potential) is going straight upward," said Bogar. "I saw nothing but positives tonight. He made a couple bad pitches in a few big situations but for the most part he was pretty strong."

Rangers designated hitter J.P. Arencibia hit a solo homer to left in the bottom of the seventh, his ninth of the season.

In the top of the eighth inning, pinch hitter Grant Green singled to left in his lone at bat of the night, scoring Tony Campana and Erick Aybar.

Second baseman Rougned Odor singled home Elvis Andrus in the bottom of the inning to give the Rangers their third and final run of the game.

NOTES: RHP Matt Shoemaker notched his 15th win of the season Wednesday night, setting an Angels franchise rookie record. ... Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre extended his on-base streak to 25 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the American League. ... The Rangers are a season-high 37 games behind the division-leading Angels, the team's largest deficit since finishing 43 games behind Seattle in 2001.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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