anaheim, calif. – No matter what pitch Taylor Teagarden called, Derek Holland executed it precisely. Through the first five hitless innings to the last 1-2-3 frame, the rookie catcher and his rookie left-hander were perfectly poised while shutting out the majors’ highest-scoring team.
The Texas Rangers claimed they weren’t even the least bit shocked by Sunday’s seasoned effort from two remarkable youngsters in a 7-0 victory over the Angels.
They’re also not surprised to be just 31/2 games behind Los Angeles in the AL West race after winning yet another head-to-head series with the two-time division champs.
Holland didn’t allow a runner to reach second base during his three-hitter, and Teagarden hit a late two-run homer to accent what manager Ron Washington called a masterful job behind the plate. The 22-year-old Holland (5-7) didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning of his 12th career start, yet he gave the credit to his fellow rookie.
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“We were on the same page from the start,” Holland said of Teagarden. “The whole team wanted to win this series. We showed we’re not backing down and we’re ready to go. I feel like we’re always neck-and-neck (with Los Angeles).”
Texas took two of three from the Angels, keeping Los Angeles’ lead at a thoroughly manageable size with eight weeks left in the regular season. The Rangers have won nine of 12 games and five straight series against Los Angeles, with two series still to play this season.
“We wanted to win this series, and we got it done,” Washington said. “That’s not easy to do against that team. They’re a pretty good team. I think we are, too. In fact, I know we are.”
Marlon Byrd homered and drove in three runs for the Rangers, who scored their first two runs when Bobby Abreu dropped a two-out fly to right field in the fourth. Byrd’s surge at the plate includes an 11-game hitting streak.
The Angels began the day tied with the New York Yankees with a majors-leading 614 runs while leading the big leagues in hits and batting average, yet Holland needed just 96 pitches against a series of overeager hitters. The Angels drew just one walk.
While the Angels hacked away to no avail, the Rangers effectively wore out Angels ace John Lackey (7-5) with patient hitting. Lackey left in the seventh after a career-high 131 pitches, yielding eight hits and two earned runs to pick up his first defeat since July 7.