By Levi Weaver, The Sports Xchange
ARLINGTON, Texas — Jefry Marte drove in three runs with a home run and a single to lead a 10-hit attack as the Los Angeles Angels beat the Texas Rangers 5-2 on Sunday to take the rubber match of a three-game series.
Marte snapped a 1-1 tie with a two-run single in the fifth. Marte’s homer was a solo shot in the ninth that capped the scoring.
“I feel good every day,” Marte said through an interpreter after the game. “I give the best effort I can. This is a difficult sport, and you have to battle. … I’m trying not to swing at bad pitches, so I’m being more selective and I’m getting more results.”
Marte’s manager also spoke in positive terms about his first baseman.
“The base hit is huge in the fifth inning,” Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. “… The insurance run, also. He made adjustments. They’ve been pitching him soft. It was a changeup he hit, but he stayed on it and got it up the middle more. On the home run, he got the barrel on it.”
Angels starter JC Ramirez (3-2) lasted 5 1/3 innings, giving up four hits, two walks and two runs while striking out nine. Ramirez’s counterpart, Texas left-hander Martin Perez (1-4), lasted 5 2/3 innings, striking out just one, walking four and allowing four runs on eight hits.
“I think I threw good,” Perez said after the game. “I just gave up a couple bloopers on good pitches, but that’s the game. That’s baseball. I threw hard, attacked the zone every time, but I didn’t throw the pitch I have to throw with two strikes to a couple of guys, but … a couple of bloopers, man. Changed the game.”
Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos agreed with Perez’s assessment.
“I think he did a good job,” Chirinos added. “He was throwing more strikes today than his previous outing. He was attacking hitters, but those guys hit two changeups back up the middle, and that was it.”
Bud Norris pitched the final 1 1/3 innings, striking out four, to post his fifth save.
The Rangers scored first when Delino DeShields continued his torrid week by walking, stealing a base, and scoring on a Carlos Gomez single. But Kole Calhoun threw out Gomez trying to score on a Rougned Odor single to hold the score at 1-0.
Two innings later, Calhoun hit a leadoff home run in the third inning to tie the game, and Marte put his team ahead to stay with the two-run single in the fifth.
The game featured a number of missed opportunities on either side. In the top of the first, with the bases loaded and one out, Mike Trout misread Marte’s line drive up the middle and broke for third as the ball settled into second baseman Odor’s glove. Odor touched second base to complete the inning-ending double play.
Similarly, in the sixth inning, after Trout walked to load the bases, Albert Pujols swung and missed at an 89 mph changeup from Jeremy Jeffress to strand all three runners.
The Rangers, too, squandered an opportunity in the eighth inning while trailing 4-2. Nomar Mazara was initially called out on an attempted stolen base, but the call was reversed. Gomez walked on the next pitch and Odor came to bat as the go-ahead run. However, with a three-ball count, Odor swung at three consecutive pitches outside the strike zone, striking out to end the inning.
Ultimately, the close game was decided by the one opportunity that was not squandered. After Trout was intentionally walked to load the bases in the fifth, Perez retired Pujols on a pop out to first base for the second out of the inning. However, Marte followed with a liner to center, driving in two.
The Rangers got back a run in the bottom of the fifth when Shin-Soo Choo led off with a home run, but the Angels re-established a two-run lead in the top of the sixth when Yunel Escobar’s bloop single scored Martin Maldonado.
Marte’s solo home run off deposed Rangers closer Sam Dyson in the ninth made it 5-2.