Rangers 3, Angels 2: Ian Kinsler delivered the go-ahead single in the eighth inning as Texas edged visiting Los Angeles in Josh Hamilton’s first game against his former team.
A.J. Pierzynski and Nelson Cruz each went 3-for-4 and Adrian Beltre added two hits – including a tying home run – to send Texas to its third straight victory. Tanner Scheppers (1-0) sat the Angels down in order in the eighth after a strong seven-inning start from Derek Holland and Joe Nathan worked around a two-out walk in the ninth for his first save.
Scott Downs (0-2) yielded a run and two hits in his only inning of work. Chris Iannetta went 2-for-3 with a homer and scored both runs for Los Angeles.
The two teams, who accounted for 225 runs in 19 meetings last season, each had trouble crossing the plate as Iannetta answered Pierzynski’s second-inning RBI triple with a solo shot in the third and Beltre’s line-drive homer in the seventh evened the score at 2-2 after Mike Trout scored Iannetta with a fifth-inning double.
However, Craig Gentry followed up his one-out single in the eighth with a stolen base one batter later. Kinsler took advantage when he lined Downs’ sinker into right, giving Gentry enough time to beat Hamilton’s throw.
GAME NOTEBOOK: The Rangers’ pitching staff, which recorded 43 strikeouts – the most strikeouts by any team in the first three games of a season since 1900 – in its season-opening series against the Houston Astros, tallied six more Friday. … Hamilton, who was routinely booed throughout the game, finished 0-for-4 with two strikeouts, matching his line from his final game with the Rangers in the team’s 5-1 loss to Baltimore in a one-and-done wild-card game last October. … Pierzynski’s triple was his first extra-base hit of the season.