via Texas Rangers
ARLINGTON — Shohei Ohtani wasn’t on the mound or in the lineup on Monday night, but the Angels still managed to make a bit of history, securing their first 8-3 start since 1987 with an 8-3 win over the Rangers in their series opener at Globe Life Park.
The Angels, who have won five of their past six games, banged out 13 hits against Texas’ pitching staff and lead the Majors with 68 runs and 18 home runs this year. Andrelton Simmons went 2-for-5 and scored three of the Angels’ eight runs, while Martin Maldonado finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
“We’re getting contributions from a lot of spots in our lineup,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “Some guys aren’t locked in like we hope they will be, but we’re doing a good job pressuring other teams with some really clutch hitting.”
Albert Pujols launched his second home run of the season, a solo shot to left field off Rangers right-hander Doug Fister that extended the Angels’ lead to 2-0 in the fourth. The 38-year-old slugger added a single in the ninth to collect his 2,981st career hit, leaving him only 19 shy of 3,000.
“He’s working hard,” Scioscia said. “He’s worked hard with [hitting coaches Eric Hinske and Paul Sorrento] on just making some adjustments, and he’s getting comfortable in the box. That’s fun to watch when he starts swinging.”
The Angels’ balanced offense was enough to overcome an uneven start from Garrett Richards, who gave up one run but walked five over 4 2/3 innings. Command has been an issue for Richards this season, as the 29-year-old right-hander has issued 12 walks over 15 innings.
“It’s rhythm, tempo and timing,” Richards said. “I’m just a hair off right now. But like I said, I’m healthy right now. The ball is coming out as good as it ever has. Everything is sharp, I just need to do a better job of filling up the zone. Luckily our team is great on the offensive side, so a win is always a positive.”