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Down to Earth: Rangers Bludgeoned By Angels in 6-2 Loss

The Texas Rangers struggled in multiple facets of the game, losing to the Angels by a score of 6-2.

Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward trotted out the same lineup from Monday's 6-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels with the hope they could repeat their success.

They did not. As a matter of fact, there wasn't much the Rangers did right in an ugly 6-2 loss to the Angels on Tuesday night.

The Texas lineup couldn't figure out Angels starter Shohei Ohtani, despite earning six free passes from him in only four innings. Ohtani loaded the bases with three walks and only one out in the first inning, but the Rangers couldn't make him pay for it.

Jordan Lyles was the lone bright spot for the Rangers, giving Texas a quality start. Lyles allowed three runs on five hits, no walks, and five strikeouts over six innings, though he pitched better than his line indicated. 

In a play that exemplified the kind of night it was for the Rangers, Mike Trout led off the fourth inning with a fly ball that fell in between David Dahl and Adolis García for a double after some confusion on who called for it.

"Obviously those guys haven't played out there a ton together, but that obviously has to be caught," said Rangers manager Chris Woodward. "When you get Mike Trout to hit one not hard, that ball's gotta be caught."

After the Angels manufactured two runs over the third and fourth innings, Nick Solak brought the Rangers within one in the top of the sixth inning with a solo home run off Griffin Canning. After Mike Trout took Jordan Lyles deep in the bottom half of the sixth to put the Angels up 3-1, Joey Gallo manufactured a run with a RBI bunt single to bring the Rangers within a run again.

But then the wheels fell off.

Taylor Hearn struggled in relief of Lyles in the seventh inning, giving up a lead-off homer to Albert Pujols. Three batters later, Kurt Suzuki made Hearn pay for his walk of José Iglesias with a two-run home run, which put the game out of reach at 6-2.

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Hearn came back out for the eighth inning to try and preserve the bullpen, but he immediately loaded the bases with a single and two walks. Brett de Geus came in and played magician, getting Pujols to pop into a rare bases-loaded double play, then got Iglesias to ground out to end the inning.

Of the 49 pitches that the left-handed Hearn threw over his inning-plus, none of them were changeups, despite facing six right-handed hitters. During spring training, Chris Woodward and the pitching staff were satisfied with the progress Hearn had made with his changeup. However, Woodward called the pitch a "work in progress" after the game, and stressed the importance of attacking hitters with conviction instead.

"I just don't like it when he's pitching behind in counts," Woodward said. "A lot of the times, it's that first hitter of an inning and going right after guys. That's something we've addressed with him. He needs to get better at it.

"The Albert Pujols at-bat, he kind of eased [his fastball] in there at 92-93 mph. This kid throws 96-97. He's gotta come out of the gates throwing his best fastball. That's his best pitch and they know that. You can't go in and ease some fastballs in there. He's gonna fall behind in counts and get hurt."

The Rangers will try to salvage the series on Wednesday afternoon. Mike Foltynewicz (0-3, 5.63 ERA) will take the mound, seeking his first win as a Ranger. He'll square off with Angels left-hander José Quintana (0-1, 16.20 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 3:07 p.m. CT.


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Chris Halicke covers the Texas Rangers for SI's InsideTheRangers.com. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisHalicke.
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