ANAHEIM -- A grand slam would have been huge, but Josh Hamilton was not thinking about that.
"I'm not trying to hit a home run there," the Rangers left fielder said. "If I do that, I get outside myself and that's not good. I was just trying to hit a line drive hard."
Hamilton, with the score tied in the third inning, did hit the ball hard off of Angels starter Jered Weaver in the Rangers' biggest at-bat of the night. But he also hit it on one hop straight at second baseman Howie Kendrick, who started an inning-ending double play.
That ended the Rangers' best opportunity of the night to get to Weaver. The Angels didn't waste their opportunities against Derek Holland and pounded their way to a 6-1 victory in the opener of a three-game series at Angel Stadium on Friday night.
"The difference in the game was hitting with runners in scorng position," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "They did and we didn't."The Rangers did not. They were 1-for-7 in such situations and the only hit was a ninth-inning single by Mike Napoli, his third of the game, that succeeded only in moving David Murphy to third base with two outs. That's where he was when Craig Gentry grounded out to end the game. The Rangers are now hitting .200 with runners in scoring position in their last 15 games. "We had the right people in the right situation," Washington said. "We didn't get it done. Tonight we faced a real good pitcher. He never panics. He's a smart guy and he used our aggressiveness against us. We got men in position and didn't get it done. "When it counted, he won." Weaver finds a way to do that against the Rangers here. They can handle him in Texas but Southern California has been totally different. Weaver is now 8-0 with a 2.16 ERA in 13 career starts against the Rangers in his home ballpark. He is 2-7 with a 5.21 ERA in 14 starts against them at the Ballpark in Arlington. "That's just one of those fluke things," designated hitter Michael Young said. "Tonight he threw well. He located his pitches well. He locates the ball as well as anybody in the league. That's a big strength for him. We made him work and he threw a lot of pitches. But he locates well and kept the ball out of the middle of the plate." Weaver was gone after seven, having thrown 116 pitches. But he left with a five-run lead. "It's going to be a battle going up against a lineup like that," Weaver said. "These guys are known to put some runs up on the board, so you've got to locate well and try to keep the ball down. I was able to do that for the most part. They hit some balls hard, but luckily, they were at some people. You've got to have some things go your way against a lineup like that, and that happened tonight." Weaver beat Derek Holland, who allowed six runs in 6 2/3 innings while struggling to find his sinker. Holland never did and the Angels got to him with three runs in the fourth to take a 4-1 lead. That was more than enough with Weaver on the mound. "The biggest thing was I couldn't locate my sinker," Holland said. "We tried to push it the entire game and we didn't have the action we were looking for. Otherwise I threw a lot of strikes. But that one inning I missed up a lot and caused them to get some runs." The Rangers only run came in the first inning when Elvis Andrus hit his second home run of the season and his first since April 11. But that lead didn't last long as the Angels tied it up in the bottom of the inning on Howie Kendrick's RBI double. The Rangers, with the game still 1-1, mounted their one one great chance to get to Weaver in the third when Napoli led off with a single and went to third on a double by Gentry. But the Rangers couldn't get them home. Ian Kinsler swung at a first-pitch fastball and popped out. "He threw it down in the zone and the job there is to stay on top of the ball, get a ground ball and get the run in," Washington said. "It was a good pitch to go after, but the angle of the bat caused the pop-up. If [Kinsler] catches it, nobody says anything." Andrus drew a walk, but Hamilton, after working the count full, hit the dreaded one-hop grounder right at Kendrick. "I was looking for a heater and I got a heater," Hamilton said. "I just jammed myself and hit into a double play, which I don't do very often." The Angels got their rally going in the fourth when Albert Pujols led off with a double and went to third on Mark Trumbo's single to left. Kendrick forced Trumbo with a grounder to short and Pujols scored to put the Angels ahead. Alberto Callaspo followed with a single and Erick Aybar then doubled to left, bringing home both runners. Trumbo had a leadoff home run in the sixth to make it 5-1 and Mike Trout hit one out off Holland in the seventh.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.