The Rangers won mostly because they keep smashing nearly nothing but extra base hits (five of their eleven hits tonight went for extra bags) and because A.J. Griffin figured out how to get through six innings.
Griffin finished the game allowing three runs on four hits with a walk and four strikeouts. Griffin allowed two runs in the second after Texas had taken a 2-0 lead in the top of the inning. In the third, Griffin showed that he'd truly learned from the master as he summoned up his best Colby Lewis impressive by giving up a two-out, solo home run to Mike Trout.
There were loud outs over the next inning or so but Griffin settled in and gave Texas six. In the top of the fifth, the Rangers took the lead for good with the big hit coming off the bat of Joey Gallo. Gallo's two-run triple brought in Jonathan Lucroy and Elvis Andrus before Jurickson Profar singled in Gallo to give the beleaguered bullpen some insurance.
That bullpen tonight featured not Sam Dyson, Jake Diekman, Keone Kela, or Matt Bush, but instead Jeremy Jeffress was in for 1 1/3 innings of solid work. Alex Claudio faced a batter and Texas got 1 2/3 impressive innings from Jose Leclerc as Leclerc struck out Mike Trout on three pitches and got Albert Pujols on a pop fly.
After Rougie Odor padded the lead in the top of the ninth with a two-run triple of his own, the Rangers stuck with Leclerc to finish off the Angels. His reward for doing so? His very first big league save.
Tony Barnette was slated to pitch for his first big league save before Odor's cushion sat him down so who knows if this means that Barnette is officially the closer now or not (he did it in Japan to great success) but that's a story for another night.
Tonight's story was that there are no more miracles left in Anaheim.
Player of the Game: Elvis Andrus went 2-for-4 on the night and hit a big boy home run 420 or so ft. to left-center field. That's Elvis' third dong of the year already and he's hit a home run in consecutive games for the first time in his career. Oh yeah, and he's hitting .333.
Up Next: It's a beautiful Yu Darvish day on a Thursday afternoon. The rubber match between the Rangers and Halos will see Anaheim counter Darvish with their Opening Day starter...*snicker*...RHP Ricky Nolasco. First pitch is scheduled for 2:37 pm CT.