Baseball / MLB

Angels score early, hold off Rangers for victory

Kyodo, AP

Shohei Ohtani got his team’s first hit and also scored the first run of the game as the Los Angeles Angels posted a 3-1 win over the Texas Rangers on Sunday.

Ohtani and Zack Cozart put together back-to-back singles off Texas right-hander Doug Fister and both then scored on Luis Valbuena’s double to give the Angels a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning.

Justin Upton homered to extend the Angels’ lead in the sixth inning and helped make a winner out of lefty Tyler Skaggs, who evened his record at 4-4 and lowered his ERA to 3.27.

Skaggs ended his six-start winless skid despite laboring for long stretches of his six innings. The left-hander needed 70 pitches to get through the first three innings alone, but still managed to keep the Rangers scoreless while walking three and striking out six.

“I think we all want to one-up each other,” Skaggs said of the Angels’ starting pitchers, who lead the AL with a 2.56 ERA since May 1. “It’s a quiet competition, and I think we’re all doing a good job.”

Ohtani, who was batting fifth as the designated hitter, went 1-for-3 after flying out and striking out in his other at-bats in the fourth and seventh innings.

“I am glad that we were able to put the game away,” said Ohtani.

“There are games every day and every day I am learning. All I have to do is take what I learn into the next game. I’ll just keep giving it my best shot.”

The Rangers’ only run came courtesy of a homer from Nomar Mazara in the top of the eighth.

Choo Shin-soo had two doubles while reaching base in his 20th consecutive game for the last-place Rangers, who went 3-4 on their road trip.

“I loved how patient we were,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said of the ninth inning. “We had some guys at the plate with some really good looks.”

Red Sox 9, Astros 3

In Houston, Rick Porcello pitched well into the seventh, Mitch Moreland and Andrew Benintendi each homered and Boston beat the Astros.

Boston slugger J.D. Martinez left in the ninth inning with back spasms. Cameras showed him talking to a team trainer in the dugout and pointing to his lower back after being pinch hit for by Sam Travis. Manager Alex Cora said Martinez was OK, and he pulled him mostly because he believed the game was in hand.

Twins 7, Indians 5

In Minneapolis, Eddie Rosario hit his third homer of the game, launching a two-run shot in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Rosario became the first Twins player to have a pair of three-homer games. He also hit three home runs last June 13 at home against the Mariners. Harmon Killebrew and Tony Oliva are among Minnesota players who did it once.

Mariners 2, Rays 1

In Seattle, Felix Hernandez was in vintage form, allowing one run in eight innings, and RBI singles from Denard Span and Dee Gordon lifted the Mariners.

Seattle completed a three-game sweep despite a great start from Tampa Bay lefty Blake Snell, who struck out 12 — including the first seven batters he faced to tie an American League record — in six scoreless innings.

Athletics 5, Royals 1

In Kansas City, Matt Olson hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning to help lift the Athletics.

Olson went 5-for-11 with three home runs, eight RBIs and scored five times in the three-game series.

Blue Jays 8, Tigers 4

In Detroit, Justin Smoak’s sixth-inning homer broke a scoreless tie and the Blue Jays ended their five-game losing streak.

Aaron Sanchez (3-5) pitched six innings and ended a five-start winless streak, giving up one run and two hits.

White Sox 6, Brewers 1

In Chicago, Daniel Palka and Adam Engel hit back-to-back homers in a three-run sixth inning, and the White Sox beat Milwaukee.

The NL Central-leading Brewers dropped two of three against the team with the second-worst record in the majors. They are also 4-14 in their past 18 games against Chicago.

Braves 4, Nationals 2

In Atlanta, pinch hitter Charlie Culberson hit a game-ending, two-run homer to lift the Braves.

It was the second time this week that Culberson homered to win a game — of his eight career home runs, four have ended a game.

Cardinals 5, Pirates 0

In St. Louis, Michael Wacha lost a no-hit bid in the ninth inning when pinch hitter Colin Moran led off with a single.

This was the second time Wacha had a no-hit try broken up in the ninth. As a rookie in 2013, he was one out away when Washington’s Ryan Zimmerman got an infield single.

Giants 6, Phillies 1

In San Francisco, Dereck Rodriguez earned his first big league win, giving up a home run to Jake Arrieta but outpitching the Phillies ace to lead the Giants to a three-game sweep.

Rodriguez (1-0), the 25-year-old son of Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez, had pitched just once before in the majors, going 3⅓ innings in relief last Tuesday at Colorado.

Cubs 2, Mets 0

In New York, Jon Lester dominated for seven innings and Javier Baez stole home to break a scoreless tie as Chicago blanked the Mets to complete a four-game sweep.

New York has lost four in a row and nine of 11, scoring six runs in this series.

Dodgers 10, Rockies 7

In Denver, Max Muncy homered twice, Yasmani Grandal also went deep in a three-run ninth inning, and Los Angeles beat the Rockies.

The Dodgers rallied from five down to sweep the three-game series at Coors Field.

Diamondbacks 6, Marlins 1

In Phoenix, Matt Koch allowed three hits over seven scoreless innings and the Diamondbacks completed a three-game sweep, sending Miami to its season-worst sixth straight loss.

David Peralta homered for the third consecutive game. Arizona outscored the Marlins 21-4 in the series.

Padres 6, Reds 3

In San Diego, Hunter Renfroe’s pinch-hit, go-ahead grand slam in the in the fifth inning lifted Tyson Ross and the Padres to a victory against Cincinnati.

San Diego took two of three in the matchup of last-place teams. This series victory came after the Padres took three of four from the NL’s other last-place team, the Miami Marlins.