ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Albert Pujols hit a pair of three-run homers and the Los Angeles Angels remained unbeaten since the All-Star break with their season-best fifth straight victory, 8-6 over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.
Pujols connected in the fourth and fifth innings against Kyle Lohse (0-2) for his second multi-homer game in three days, driving in six runs for the first time since 2009.
He propelled the Angels (42-52) to their ninth win in 11 games overall. Pujols even stayed in the game in the seventh inning when Texas reliever Tony Barnette hit him in the helmet, apparently accidentally.
Pujols’ homers were the 578th and 579th of his career, pulling him closer to Mark McGwire (583) for 10th place on baseball’s career list.
Robinson Chirinos hit two early homers for the AL West-leading Rangers, who have lost six of seven.
Tim Lincecum (2-3) had seven strikeouts while winning for the second time in his six starts for the Angels, yielding nine hits and five runs in five innings. Huston Street pitched the ninth for his eighth save — his first since June 14.
Jett Bandy also homered and drove in two runs for the Angels.
One night after the Angels came back from four runs down to beat Texas, they erased an early three-run deficit in the fourth inning with one swing from Pujols.
After Elvis Andrus doubled home the go-ahead run for Texas in the fifth, Pujols put the Angels back ahead with another three-run shot, completing the 54th multi-homer game of his career. Pujols drove in Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout with both of his shots.
Barnette then hit Pujols in the helmet with a 92-mph fastball in the seventh. The reliever appeared to apologize profusely to Pujols, who dusted himself off and ran the bases.
Ian Desmond hit a 462-foot homer, had three hits and reached base four times for the struggling Rangers.
Lohse yielded six hits and seven runs in his second start for Texas before Pujols chased him with the second homer.
Desmond kept it close with his 17th homer in the sixth. Bandy replied with his third homer in the sixth.
After winning his Angels debut last month, Lincecum finally snapped a streak of four consecutive winless starts during which he gave up 17 runs in 17 2/3 innings.
Although the former Giants star is miles away from his Cy Young form, he showed tenacity against the Rangers in his return from eight days of rest, escaping a bases-loaded jam in the first and stranding two runners in scoring position in the third.
He couldn’t solve the light-hitting Chirinos, who connected for a solo shot in the first inning and a two-run homer in the fourth. The catcher had his second multi-homer game of the season and the third of his career.
Rangers: Tanner Scheppers threw batting practice in Arizona. The reliever hasn’t pitched all season while coming back from left knee surgery.
Angels: Nick Tropeano has a torn ulnar collateral ligament, the third Los Angeles pitcher to incur that injury this season. The right-handed starter could need Tommy John surgery, but will get a second opinion.
Rangers: Martin Perez (7-6, 4.05 ERA) has allowed 17 runs over 9 2-3 innings in his last two starts.
Angels: Hector Santiago (7-4, 4.27 ERA) makes his fourth start of the season against Texas. He kicked off the Angels’ post-break surge with seven scoreless innings against the White Sox last Friday.