ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Albert Pujols hit his 616th career homer, Martin Maldonado had two RBI singles along with an evasive move to score a run and the Los Angeles Angels extended their best start in more than three decades with an 8-3 win at Texas on Monday night.
The Angels are 8-3 for the first time since 1987, and fourth time in franchise history. Shohei Ohtani, the rookie two-way standout who was chosen AL Player of the Week, didn’t play a day after striking out 12 in seven scoreless innings against Oakland.
Pujols led off the fourth with a line shot just inside the pole in left, his second homer this season. He later added a single for his 2,981st career hit.
Jose Alvarez (1-0) retired the only two batters he faced after Angels starter Garrett Richards walked the bases loaded with one out in the fifth. Richards also struck out six in his 4 1-3 innings.
Doug Fister (1-2) struck out five with no walks while allowing three runs in his five innings.
Home plate umpire Angel Hernandez was emphatic in calling Maldonado out in the sixth, but the Angels catcher immediately pointed to manager Mike Scioscia for a replay challenge.
Maldonado came home on Chris Young’s double that ricocheted awkwardly off the wall down the left-field line. While the throw beat him to the plate, Maldonado went to both knees and reached around the attempted tag by Robinson Chirinos to make it 5-1.
Angels: RHP JC Ramirez will miss the rest of this season because of a torn ulnar collateral ligament, and Tommy John surgery has been recommended. … Scioscia said 2B Ian Kinsler “worked out well” before the game and was “very close.” He hasn’t played since the season opener because of a strained groin.
Rangers: 2B Rougned Odor left the game in the first because of a left hamstring strain sustained when trying to scramble back to first base on a short flyout to right. He tweaked the hamstring stretching for a throw at second base at Oakland on Thursday, but played all three games over the weekend against Toronto.
Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre’s single in the fourth was his 3,060th career hit, matching Craig Biggio for 23rd on the all-time list. … Joey Gallo has 10 RBIs after driving in two runs for Texas. … Elvis Andrus homered in the ninth for Texas, his second of the season.
Ohtani could return to the lineup. He’s homered in three straight games as a designated hitter. Both teams start 1-0 left-handers, Tyler Skaggs for the Angels and Martin Perez for the Rangers.
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