Vlad slams Halos with two homers, five RBIs
Rangers DH racks up four hits; Hamilton streak at 23 games
ANAHEIM -- Rangers slugger Vladimir Guerrero insists he has no hard feelings about the Angels deciding not to re-sign him this past offseason after six highly productive seasons with the club.
But the shy and unassuming star has instead done what he's always done throughout his career -- he's let his bat do all the talking.
Guerrero made his former team pay yet again with a grand slam and a solo homer to lead the Rangers to a 6-4 win over the Angels on Wednesday at Angel Stadium.
"It was the Vlad Guerrero show," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He's capable of taking a ballgame over. I don't think the Angels are surprised. They've seen him do it before. I'm just happy he's doing it with the Texas Rangers."
It was another big night for Guerrero, who went 4-for-4 to improve to 6-for-8 with three homers and eight RBIs in his first trip back to Angel Stadium since joining the Rangers.
But Guerrero again reiterated that he gets no special joy out of making his former club pay for not bringing him back this season.
"I'm just trying to do my job," Guerrero said through a translator. "I'm swinging the bat well and hitting it hard. I appreciate the years I had here, but I'm just trying to do my job."
Guerrero, who also hit a two-run homer in his return to Anaheim on Tuesday, had the game's biggest hit in the fourth inning with his seventh career grand slam coming against Angels left-hander Scott Kazmir.
Kazmir said it was simply a changeup that caught too much of the plate after falling behind 2-0 with the bases loaded.
"I started him with two fastballs, inside and away," said Kazmir, who allowed five runs on six hits over 4 2/3 innings. "I'd thrown him a changeup in his first at-bat, and I think he was sitting on it. It was a little down, but that's Vlad. He can hit anything."
Guerrero, though, wasn't done quite yet. He added a solo shot in the eighth inning off reliever Francisco Rodriguez for his third multi-homer game of the season. It also marked his 18th homer and 68th RBI of the season after hitting just 15 homers and 50 RBIs last season.
"His whole year has been impressive," said Josh Hamilton, who extended his hit streak to a career-high 23 games with a ground-rule double in the eighth inning. "The guy has had a great year and has been fun to watch. He's an exciting player and a great guy."
Guerrero's impressive performance helped bail out right-hander Omar Beltre, who struggled a bit in his Major League debut.
Beltre, who admitted through a translator he was "a little nervous" before the start, gave up a home run to the first batter he faced -- Angels shortstop Erick Aybar -- and allowed three runs on five hits over four innings with six strikeouts and four walks.
It was a long road to the Majors for Beltre, who was banned from entering the U.S. for five years because of visa problems, but he said he learned a vital lesson in his first big league start.
"You can't make too many mistakes," Beltre said. "When you make mistakes, you pay for it."
But luckily for the Rangers, reliever Dustin Nippert didn't make too many mistakes in relief of Beltre and allowed just one run over three innings to pick up the win before handing off to setup man Frank Francisco and closer Neftali Feliz, who shut down the Angels for the win.
"He was very solid," Washington said of Nippert. "He came in and threw strikes. He did exactly what we needed him to do. He got us to the back of the bullpen. We were hoping to get to Frankie and Feliz and it happened."
With the win, the Rangers finished June with the best record in the Majors at 21-6 extended their lead over the Angels in the American League West to 4 1/2 games. It also evened up the crucial three-game series heading into the rubber match on Thursday with the Rangers having an opportunity to win their fifth straight road series.
"It's even, so now we have a chance to take the series," Washington said.
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.