Monday, September 22, 2014
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Rua's first major-league homer helps Rangers win

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[September 22, 2014]  ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Rookie Ryan Rua combined the dramatic with the historic to provide the Texas Rangers with a win against the major leagues' winningest team.

The left fielder hit his first major-league home run in the top of the ninth inning to give the Rangers a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday in front of 27,166 at Angel Stadium.

"I think it was something on his mind," Texas interim manager Tin Bogar said. "He talked about getting his first RBI and his first base hit."

The Rangers earned their eighth victory in nine games, while the Angels lost their third in their past four games.

Rua's home run, his only hit, relieved the frustration of his previous three at-bats.

"I didn't really take any good swings the whole game," Rua said. "They pounded me inside pretty much the whole game."

The 24-year-old Rua, promoted from Triple-A Round Rock on Aug. 29, saw a 1-2 sinker from closer Huston Street tailing toward him. Rua propelled that pitch into the left-field stands above both teams' bullpens.

"He went with three sliders in a row, so in the back of my mind, I thought maybe they would try to pound me in again," Rua said. "I was just trying to be short and quick to the inside pitch if I got it."



Afterward in the Rangers' locker room, Rua had yet to realize the significance of hitting a home run against one of baseball's premier closers.

"I hadn't really thought about it," Rua said. "I'm still trying to process it a little bit, right now. But it definitely felt good. It came at the right time."

Street (1-2) pitched only one-third of an inning. The right-hander allowed three hits and an intentional walk and finished with one strikeout.

Right-hander Shawn Tolleson (3-1) earned the win after pitching two-thirds of an inning of relief. Right-hander Neftali Feliz struck out the side in the bottom of the ninth for his 11th save.

Texas took a 1-0 lead in the top of the sixth after loading the bases against right-handed reliever Fernando Salas. Center fielder Leonys Martin and first baseman Adam Rosales lined singles, then second baseman Rougned Odor sacrificed them into scoring position before third baseman Adrian Beltre received an intentional walk.

Catcher Tomas Telis drove Martin home with a two-out single off the chest of Angels shortstop Erick Aybar. But with the bases still loaded, Rua lined out.

The Angels followed suit in the bottom of the inning, scoring one run but leaving the bases loaded against right-hander Nick Tepesch.

Catcher Chris Iannetta hit a lead-off single, moved to second base on right fielder Kole Calhoun's groundout and tied the score on designated hitter Albert Pujols' single. Center fielder Mike Trout received an intentional walk before Pujols' hit, as Aybar did one out after Pujols to load the bases for third baseman David Freese. But Freese lined out to end the rally.

Tepesch conceded one run, two walks (both intentional) and just four hits in seven innings, while striking out three and hitting one batter.

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"He gave us everything he could," Bogar said. "He used his fastball very aggressively in the strike zone, then he got to play his off-speed stuff off of it. I thought he did a great job."

Los Angeles right-hander Cory Rasmus, making his fifth successive start in place of injured right-hander Garrett Richards, faced one batter over the minimum in his first four innings. But the Rangers had a chance to take the lead in the top of the fifth.

Right fielder Jake Smolinski began the inning with a double off the right-field wall. Telis followed with a walk that forced Rasmus from the game. Right-hander Michael Morin replaced Rasmus and induced Rua to pop out before striking out designated hitter J.P. Arencibia and making shortstop Luis Sandinas ground out.

Rasmus, who began the season as a reliever, threw a career-high 59 pitches in his longest outing of the season. In four-plus innings, Rasmus allowed two hits and one walk while striking out three.

"It seems like with every start, he gets a little better, a little stronger," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He threw a lot of strikes. His ability to change speeds put us in a position we wanted to be in. He's doing a terrific job."

But Scioscia does not plan to extend Rasmus beyond a 50-pitch limit if the right-hander starts in the playoffs.

"Right now, I don't think we're going to risk setting him back," Scioscia said. "I don't think he needs to get past 50. If we had gotten him stretched out in spring training, we'd have a fighting chance to get him where he would have length. If he's getting us into the fourth inning, I think that's about all you can really hope for."

NOTES: Rangers rookies have driven in 147 runs this season. No other team's rookies have as many RBIs. ... Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre, who had three doubles Saturday night, now ranks 40th all-time in the category. Beltre has 527 doubles and needs one to tie Hall of Famers Cap Anson and Frank Robinson. ... Los Angeles CF Mike Trout received the team's award as its most valuable player before Saturday night's game. Trout won the honor for the third consecutive year. ... Angels RHP Garrett Richards also received the Nick Adenhart Award as the club's pitcher of the year before Saturday night's game. Adenhart was killed in a traffic accident in April 2009 after pitching against the Oakland Athletics in just his fourth major-league appearance.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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