ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Justin Bour delivered a two-run single on the first pitch he saw after replacing injured American League All-Star Tommy La Stella, and the grieving Los Angeles Angels beat the Texas Rangers 9-4 on Tuesday night.
The emotional win came a day after the death of 27-year-old pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who was found unresponsive in his room at the team’s hotel before what was supposed to be the series opener Monday. That game was postponed.
A few hours after watching with his teammates as manager Brad Ausmus struggled to keep his composure in a news conference to discuss Skaggs’ shocking death, Jonathan Lucroy had a tying two-run single in the sixth inning and finished with three RBIs.
Bour, with a .194 average, entered the game on a full count with two outs in the sixth after La Stella, a first-time All-Star as a reserve, fouled a 97 mph fastball from Texas reliever José Leclerc off his right leg, just below the knee. The second baseman had to be helped off the field and was to be re-evaluated Wednesday for a right shin contusion.
After grounding a high fastball into right field with the bases loaded to send home Mike Trout and Justin Upton, Bour touched his chest twice and tipped the bill of his batting helmet before pointing skyward. Upton had put the Angels ahead for good with an RBI single.
Kole Calhoun connected for his 18th homer , a two-run shot in the eighth, pointing skyward with both hands above his head while saying something as he crossed home plate.
The game was notably subdued, with the Rangers skipping the normal walk-up music for their hitters and between-inning promotions along with the customary display of fireworks that accompanies the theme song from the movie “The Natural” on home runs.
Delino Deshields circled the bases without the usual fanfare after his second homer of the season , a solo shot down the line in left for a 2-1 lead in the third.
Skaggs’ No. 45 was painted in bright Angels red on the back of the mound, and both scoreboards had the late left-hander’s number next to the display of balls, strikes and outs on both of the primary scoreboards, high above left-center and right field.
There were a few smiles, such as when Luis Rengifo of the Angels joked with Texas second baseman Rougned Odor while returning to first base after running on a pitch before a foul ball in the fourth inning.
Mostly, though, the game was just what Texas slugger Joey Gallo said he thought it would be beforehand: strange and quiet, starting with the moment of silence before the first pitch.
Los Angeles starter José Suarez honored Skaggs with “RIP 45” written next to what appeared to be a cross on one side of his ballcap. The initials “TSK” were just above the bill on the other side of the Angels logo.
Before throwing his first pitch in the bottom of the first inning, the left-handed Suarez appeared to write something in the dirt below Skaggs’ number on the mound. He then tapped the number and his chest before returning to the mound.
Suarez gave up three runs — two earned — with seven strikeouts in four innings.
In his first start since being named an American League All-Star, Texas left-hander Mike Minor failed to make it through five innings for the first time since opening day against the Chicago Cubs.
Minor, who allowed two hits and three runs in 4 1/3 innings while matching his season high with four walks, also learned he probably won’t get to pitch in the All-Star Game because he’s supposed to start Sunday.
Elvis Andrus stole home for a major league-leading third time for a 3-1 Texas lead in the third on a double steal with Logan Forsythe. Andrus was initially called out on a sweep tag by Lucroy on the return throw, but the call was overturned on review. Andrus had three steals.
PITCHERS OF RECORD
Trevor Cahill (3-6) got his first win since May 10, allowing a hit and a run in two innings. Rookie Pete Fairbanks (0-2) allowed all three batters he faced to reach on two walks and a hit, and all three scored.
Angels: RHP Griffin Canning (3-4, 3.79 ERA) got his first win since May 18 in his previous start at Oakland, allowing two runs with six strikeouts in six innings. The rookie had a no-decision in his only start against the Rangers, allowing one run in five innings.
Rangers: RHP Ariel Jurado (5-3, 3.90) pitched a career-high seven innings in a 3-1 win at Detroit his last time out. Jurado didn’t allow a run and struck out four. He has no record with a 4.41 ERA in three career appearances against the Angels.
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