Rangers shut down by Weaver, Angels
Texas collects just four hits; Wilson yields two runs in 5 2/3
ANAHEIM -- Rangers left-hander C.J. Wilson was brutally honest about his performance against the Angels in the Rangers' 2-1 loss on Thursday at Angel Stadium.
Wilson, who allowed two runs on five hits over 5 2/3 innings and took the loss, was angry at himself for issuing four walks, saying, "Regardless of where the strike zone is, I have to throw the ball in it."
But it was his comments about the Angels -- who took two out of three to win the series -- that are sure to turn some heads in Anaheim.
"We're a better team -- 100 percent," Wilson said when asked if the two clubs will continue to play close games against each other moving forward. "When we play up to our capabilities it might not be that close."
Wilson then went into details about why the first-place Rangers, who saw their lead fall to 3 1/2 games over the Angels in the American League West, are the better club.
"We have a better balance to our team," Wilson said. "They have good pitching, but their offense is like, I don't know. We have more wins. It's pretty simple. I'd rather take our offense. I'd rather take our defense. I'd much rather have our bullpen."
Rangers manager Ron Washington, however, took a different route saying nothing but complimentary things about the Angels, who have won five of the last six AL West division titles.
"They have a pretty good team," Washington said. "We have a pretty good team. It's going to come down to pitching and defense and that's what it came down to tonight -- pitching."
But on this night, the Angels' pitching was just a bit better behind right-hander Jered Weaver, who allowed just two hits over seven scoreless innings to pick up the win.
"That's what you want from your lead dog -- to win these games and move forward," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Weav has shown he's comfortable with that. That's a terrific effort. You saw different swings from them that illustrate he was hitting his spots."
But Wilson, despite his four walks, was also effective as he only allowed a run in the first inning on an RBI double coming from Howard Kendrick before yielding another in the sixth on an RBI double from Mike Napoli.
After allowing the double to Napoli, Wilson then retired Hideki Matsui on a fly ball to right field, which allowed Napoli to advance to third base. Wilson was then visited at the mound by Washington, but remained in the game to face Jeff Mathis with Napoli at third.
Wilson then received a break when Napoli was thrown out on a missed squeeze bunt attempt by Mathis, who eventually walked. Wilson was then removed for reliever Darren O'Day, who got the Rangers out of the inning by retiring Brandon Wood on a fly ball to center field.
"I thought he did a great job," Washington said of Wilson. "He matched zeros with Weaver after that first inning. He went to that offspeed stuff and was putting it where he wanted to put it. He didn't make many mistakes."
The Rangers' offense, however, was mostly silent until the eighth inning when Texas rallied against reliever Fernando Rodney with an RBI bloop single from Ian Kinsler that put runners at first and second with one out.
Vladimir Guerrero then grounded into what appeared to be an inning-ending double play, but second-base umpire Bruce Dreckman ruled that Kendrick never touched second base to give the Rangers runners on second and third with two outs.
Josh Hamilton, who went 0-for-3 and saw his Major League-best 23-game hit streak come to an end, was then intentionally walked to load the bases for Nelson Cruz.
But the Rangers' best chance to tie the game actually came on a wild pitch from Rodney on a 2-2 fastball that sailed over the head of Mathis, but Michael Young, who was on third base couldn't get a good read and remained at third.
"It was fastball at the screen and from my angle, you don't have the luxury of seeing what direction it kicks unless it kicks right back to you. So I thought it kicked back to Mathis and because it was a fastball, I wasn't be able to get too far off the bag in the first place. And with Nelly and a 3-2 count, I just couldn't go. That's the tough part. If I had an easy read, I'd be gone."
Young played it safe on the play, but it didn't work out for the Rangers, as Cruz popped out to second base on a 3-2 fastball to end the inning and the threat. And the Rangers went down in order against Angels closer Brian Fuentes to see their series win streak end at seven in a row.
But Washington was still happy with the way his club played during the series, as all three games were decided by two runs or less.
"We did well," Washington said. "There was only two things that could happen -- we leave out of here a game ahead or them picking up a game. They took the series. That's it. We're going home to play Chicago and we'll move on."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.