ARLINGTON -- Round 1 of the American League West heavyweight series between the defending champions from the Lone Star State and the former kings from Southern California was all Texas.With C.J. Wilson in command on the mound and Adrian Beltre delivering the knockout blow, the Rangers handled the Angels, 7-1, in front of 30,799 at Rangers Ballpark on Monday night to take a one-game division lead and halt the Halos' winning streak at five games. Outdueling Ervin Santana, Wilson struck out nine hitters while walking only one and allowing one run on nine hits. Wilson seemed most impressed with the three-run homer Beltre launched against Santana, breaking it open in the fifth inning. "It wasn't even that bad of a pitch," Wilson said. "He just mashed it. It was like, if you look at the little K zone, it was a slider down [and] away. That's why he is such a deadly hitter, because he can hit pitches that are pretty deadly pitches. He's done it against me before." The Rangers had dropped four of their previous five, but the sight of the Angels -- the team that had won three straight AL West titles before Texas' 2010 run -- brought out the beast in manager Ron Washington's club. "We know what those guys can do," Angels catcher Jeff Mathis said. "They can score off anybody. There's no sense of panic because they put some runs on the board." Wilson moved to 2-0, while Santana -- yielding 10 hits and two walks while striking out three in four innings -- fell to 0-2. It was a scoreless duel with two outs in the fourth inning when the Rangers pushed across a pair of runs on three singles and a key 10-pitch walk drawn by Mike Napoli against Santana, the man he used to catch. Mitch Moreland drove in both runs with a ground-ball single through the middle. "There were some good pitches right there that Nap fouled off," said Mathis, Napoli's former roommate. "He got Ervin's pitch count up, made him battle longer." Santana was unable to get an out in the four-run fifth inning that began with Ian Kinsler's triple down the third-base line that bounded away from Vernon Wells in the left-field corner. Kinsler was a burr in the Angels' saddle with a double and two walks along with the triple. Elvis Andrus squeezed home Kinsler and moved to second when Santana overthrew first for an error. Michael Young's single left runners at the corners for Beltre, who lifted his towering blast to dead center. It was Beltre's fifth homer. He has the club lead with 16 RBIs. "That was a good pitch, down and away, a slider," Santana said. "You can see what he did last year [with the Red Sox]. On one knee, he hit a home run." Rich Thompson finished the inning, leaving two men in scoring position, and struck out four hitters in two scoreless innings. Jason Bulger worked a scoreless seventh and watched Moreland unload a solo homer in the eighth before pitching out of a bases-loaded jam. "We had some chances early, which certainly might have given Ervin a chance to pitch," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Wilson, when he had to make a pitch, did and got out of trouble." Singles by Mathis, Maicer Izturis and Howard Kendrick ended Wilson's shutout bid in the seventh inning. The lefty retired Bobby Abreu on a fly ball to leave two runners stranded. Former Angels sidearmer Darren O'Day and Pedro Strop maintained control of proceedings in the 90-degree Texas heat. "It looked like he had some late life," Scioscia said of Wilson, the new Texas ace in the absence of Cliff Lee. "He has a good cutter and uses his breaking ball. It looked like he had good movement on both sides of the plate." The Angels had threats in the first and third innings, but both times Wilson worked out of trouble. Center fielder Peter Bourjos singled and doubled and Wells also had two hits, but Wilson frustrated the Angels by making quality pitches when he needed them. Twice he quelled threats by retiring Torii Hunter on ground balls. "C.J. Wilson kept everything down," Hunter said. "You can't do much with a guy when he's doing that." The Angels were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, continuing a nagging trend. The Rangers were 5-for-9 in those situations. "I got behind in the count too much," Santana said. "I made a lot of pitches in those two innings [fourth and fifth]. It wasn't my night. I try to make it easier ... but it's not easy." Asked if he was trying to keep up with his dominant rotation mates, Jered Weaver and Dan Haren, Santana deferred to the co-aces. "I try to be perfect like them," he said. "But I have to be myself. Nobody can try to be somebody else."
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.