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Sports Pence hits, Elvis scores, Rangers win 8-7

Pence hits, Elvis scores, Rangers win 8-7

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The old guys for the Texas Rangers got the big hits late for another win in their last at-bat. Another hard-throwing rookie reliever got his first big league victory.

Hunter Pence drove in three runs, including a game-ending single in the ninth to score Elvis Andrus for an 8-7 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night.

“We’ve got these young guys bringing a spark,” said Pence, the 36-year-old hometown outfielder. “It’s impressive to watch, and these young pitchers as well.”

The Rangers won three times in the four-game series. All of the wins came in their final at-bat, including 11-inning wins in the series opener Monday and the second game of a doubleheader Tuesday.

Jonathan Hernández (1-0) worked the final 2 1/3 scoreless innings to win in his major league debut.

“It couldn’t be a more difficult situation, especially with the way the game was kind of going,” manager Chris Woodward said. “It’s really cool to be a part of guys living out their dream. … It’s pretty special, especially on a nightly basis, I feel like it’s happening every night.”

It was the second night in a row for a Ranger to get his first big league win — 21-year-old Emmanuel Clase pitched the final two innings Tuesday night in his eighth appearance since his MLB debut earlier this month. Clase won the game started by Brock Burke, who threw six scoreless innings in his big league debut.

Elvis Andrus, the 31-year-old shortstop and the longest-tenured Ranger in his 11th season, led off the ninth with a single up the middle off Trevor Cahill (3-8). After two wild pitches got Andrus to third, Pence grounded a single through the left side of the infield.

Pence, who struck out his first three at-bats, had a two-out double in the seventh. Texas tied the game in the eight on an RBI single by Shin-Soo Choo, a 37-year-old outfielder.

“There’s a ton of energy in that clubhouse,” Woodward said. “I don’t care how young you are. I don’t care how old you are for that matter. We want to win.”

Willie Calhoun, a 24-year-old outfielder, hit his 13th homer in the Texas second. Rookie Nick Solak had two doubles, scoring three times and drove in a run in his third big league game.

The Angels used seven pitchers, and the last four relievers combined to give up four runs over two innings. There were only two walks, but they were leadoff walks that both scored.

“Probably just ebbs and flows. You’re not going to be great every single month,” manager Brad Ausmus said about the bullpen struggles. “I wouldn’t really attribute it to anything in particular, I think just a down month.”

Texas, which twice earlier in the game blew two-run leads, was down 7-4 after a three-run Angels sixth that included two runs coming home on the same play that Justin Upton had a sacrifice fly.

With the bases loaded with one out, after an intentional walk to Mike Trout, Upton hit his sac fly. Left fielder Calhoun’s throw home was well off target before catcher Jeff Mathis tried to pick off Trout, but first baseman Danny Santana misplayed the ball for an error that allowed a second run to score.

That ended the night for All-Star lefty Mike Minor, whose ERA rose from 2.94 to 3.17 after he allowed seven runs and 10 hits — both season highs. He struck out seven and walked two.

The Angels tied the game 4-all with two outs in the fifth when Albert Pujols had a tying two-run single that ricocheted off the top of the eight-foot wall in right. Pujols thought he had his 20th homer, but the ball was ruled in play when it bounced back onto the field, and that stood after a crew chief replay review.

WALK IT OFF

The Rangers have consecutive walk-off wins for the first time since May 2017 against San Diego. The last time they had three walk-off wins in the same series was in July 2013 against the Angels, with game-ending homers three games in a row.

SHORT HOPS

Hernández became the 13th pitcher to make his MLB debut with the Rangers this season. The previous club record had been 10 debuts in 2014. … The Angels finished 109-117 overall at the Rangers’ ballpark in its 26th season. They will be the first visitor when Texas plays its 2020 regular season home opener in a new stadium across the street.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Angels: RHP Griffin Canning (elbow inflammation) returned to California and will be placed on the injured list for the second time this month.

UP NEXT

Angels: After a day off Thursday, the Angels open a three-game weekend series at AL West-leading Houston, where they have lost seven of their last eight games.

Rangers: Texas starts a four-game road series against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday night.

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