Pujols hits 25th HR, Angels finish sweep of Rangers 12-6
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Albert Pujols probably didn't need to pad his AL home run lead to have a chance to join teammate Mike Trout in the starting lineup for the All-Star game.
The slugger did it anyway.
Pujols went deep for the 25th time, Kole Calhoun homered and drove in four runs and the Los Angeles Angels finished a dominant three-game sweep of the Texas Rangers with a 12-6 victory Sunday night.
''I don't control that,'' said Pujols, who is a strong candidate to replace the injured Miguel Cabrera of Detroit at first base in what would be his 10th trip to the All-Star game. ''We'll see what happens in the next week or so. My job is to try to help this ballclub win.''
Trout celebrated his third straight year of being voted an All-Star starter in the outfield - and fourth trip to the midsummer party - with one of seven run-scoring singles or sacrifice flies for the Angels in the first three innings. The All-Star game is July 14 in Cincinnati.
''It's special to be a part of that group,'' said Trout, who has 21 homers to share third in the AL with Seattle's Nelson Cruz but hasn't decided whether to compete in the home run derby. ''It's a fun couple of days.''
Calhoun's three-run shot, his ninth, gave Los Angeles a 12-1 lead in the fifth, and a 25-1 advantage combined in the first five innings of the three games.
C.J. Wilson (7-6) allowed three runs in six innings, and the Los Angeles left-hander beat his former team for the second time in 10 starts.
Texas righty Colby Lewis (8-4) allowed 12 hits and 10 earned runs in four innings.
One night after getting a career-high six RBIs, C.J. Cron matched his career best with four hits, including a run-scoring double. His previous best for hits was also against the Rangers earlier this year. He's hitting .529 (18 of 34) against Texas and .135 against the rest of the league.
Pujols, Calhoun and Johnny Giavotella had two hits apiece for the Angels, who outscored the Rangers 33-8 in the series. Pujols, whose solo homer in the fourth put Los Angeles up 8-1, had two RBIs along with Giavotella.
''Everybody's got a sore hand from all the high fives,'' said Wilson, who entered the game with a 6.59 ERA against Texas.
The only hit off Wilson through four innings was Prince Fielder's 13th home run in the first.
Lewis, Wilson's teammate for both of Texas' World Series teams in 2010-11, couldn't keep the Angels off the bases while dropping his sixth straight start against them.
Seven of the first nine Los Angeles hitters reached, and all the Angels had been on at least once with no outs in the third inning after David Freese's hard ground-ball single off Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre's glove.
''I guess you just chalk it up to there's good days and there are bad days,'' Lewis said. ''You just have to have more better ones than you have bad ones.''
The Angels had at least 15 hits - their season high coming into the series - in each of the three games.
The Rangers got to Wilson with five hits combined in the fifth and sixth, but are hitting just .190 against lefties since June 1. They went into the game with the worst average in the majors against left-handers in that span.
Texas, which lost a season-high sixth straight home game and dropped below .500 for the first time since May 29, had nine of its 11 hits after trailing 12-1.
NOW THAT'S CLUTCH
The Angels went 20 of 45 (.444) with runners in scoring position in the series after entering the three-game set in a 0-for-27 drought. They also pushed a half-game lead over Texas for second in the AL West to 3 1-2 games.
Angels: OF Collin Cowgill, out since late May with a sprained right wrist, will be shut down for at least another week. Manager Mike Scioscia said there wasn't any change in the nature of the injury.
Rangers: OF Josh Hamilton was out of the lineup with what manager Jeff Banister said was a mild groin issue. Banister said the disabled list wasn't a consideration yet for Hamilton, who missed a month with a strained left hamstring before coming off the DL on Tuesday. Hamilton sat for two of the three games in his first series against his former team.
Angels: LHP Andrew Heaney (1-0) starts the opener of a two-game interleague series at Colorado after getting his first major league win in his previous outing against the Yankees on Tuesday.
Rangers: RHP Yovani Gallardo takes a scoreless streak of 29 1/3 innings, longest in the majors this season, into the opener of a two-game interleague series at home against Arizona on Tuesday.