Angels' Bullpen Kills Rangers' Momentum in 4-3 Loss

The Texas Rangers dropped the rubber match against the Los Angeles Angels by a score of 4-3.
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ARLINGTON, Texas — After snapping their four-game skid on Tuesday, the Texas Rangers fell back into the loss column, falling to the Los Angeles Angels by a score of 4-3. 

The Angels unloaded on Rangers starter Dane Dunning in the first inning on a pair of two-run singles by Anthony Rendon and José Iglesias. Much like Shohei Ohtani did for the Halos in the first game of the series, Dunning bounced back in a very strong way, pitching four scoreless innings after a rough first inning.

"Dunning settled down," said Rangers manager Chris Woodward. "In the first inning, he couldn't command anything. He was missing spots, but he settled down. ... It's a good moment for him as far as a younger pitcher being able to see that four-spot and go out and still get four scoreless after that."

The Rangers began chipping away at the Angels early lead right away. Nate Lowe drove in Nick Solak in the first inning with a two-out single into the shift. In the second inning, Jonah Heim drove in a run with an RBI groundout, and Willie Calhoun followed by slapping an RBI single just out of reach from a diving Anthony Rendon to pull the Rangers within a run.

Angels manager Joe Maddon countered the Rangers' momentum by going to his bullpen quickly, pulling starter Alex Cobb after just two innings of work. Relievers Chris Rodriguez and Tony Watson shut down the Rangers lineup for the next five innings, facing the minimum along the way. 

The Angels bullpen combined for just two hits allowed seven shutout innings, preventing the Rangers from pushing across that elusive fourth run. 

"That's the game we've gotta find a way to win," said Rangers manager Chris Woodward. "That's what I keep talking about with our guys. If we want to be a contender, those are games [we have to win]. We had plenty of opportunities. We had seven innings to score a run. I kind of felt like we had the momentum, especially after that second inning. Give Rodriguez credit. He did a good job. He shut down our momentum. But we've gotta find a way to win the game."

The only time the Rangers really threatened the Angels' bullpen was in the eighth inning with Mike Mayers on the mound. Mayers hit Nick Solak with a pitch and Nate Lowe flared a two-out single that put Solak just 90 feet from home. That set the table for Adolis García to play hero once again, just one week after hitting a late-inning homer off of him. Mayers got the better of García this time, striking him out on four pitches.

Angels closer Raisel Iglesias worked an easy ninth inning, retiring David Dahl, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Brock Holt in order.

On the brighter side of things for the Rangers, Kolby Allard and Josh Sborz both pitched very well in relief of Dunning. The duo allowed just one hit over four shutout innings of their own.

The Rangers (10-15) will look to bounce back as they welcome the Boston Red Sox (16-9) to town for a four-games series to wrap up their homestand. On Thursday, Texas will send out Kyle Gibson (2-0, 2.30 ERA) to square off with former Ranger southpaw Martín Pérez (0-1, 5.71 ERA). 

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