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LAA@TEX: Kendrick's solo shot puts the Angels ahead

ARLINGTON -- If not for the oppressive 103-degree heat, it would have felt like October.

The Angels and Rangers brought postseason intensity to late August at Rangers Ballpark in front of a Sunday night crowd of 40,018 that included a pair of presidents: George W. Bush and his Hall of Fame companion, Rangers boss Nolan Ryan.

With Josh Hamilton leading the way, Texas stormed back against Cy Young Award candidate Jered Weaver to prevail, 9-5, and push the Angels three games off their American League West pace.

"They played better than us and won the ballgame," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "They pressured us on the offensive end and pitched well enough as the game moved on to contain us."

The teams have three games remaining, closing out the season in Anaheim. Texas leads the season series, 9-7, having taken five of nine at home.

"It's in front of us," Scioscia said. "We really have it in our control with our ability to play at a high level and have the opportunity at the end to play these guys.

"You'd rather be up a couple than behind a couple. I like the way we're playing. Right now our team is the best it's been all year, and we need to keep moving forward."

Hamilton delivered in the fashion of a reigning AL MVP, lashing a two-run homer early and a run-producing single against Scott Downs to give Texas the lead after Weaver had departed, having yielded three hits to open the seventh inning.

Ian Kinsler singled home David Murphy, who led off the inning with a double to right. Elvis Andrus' bunt single chased Weaver, who was charged with seven earned runs.

"It's safe to say he didn't have his best stuff," Murphy said. "He was missing with his location. I don't know if that was because of the short rest, the heat or he just didn't have it. He's a great pitcher, and when he doesn't have his best stuff, you have to take advantage of it. We did that."

Replacing Downs after an intentional walk to Michael Young, Bobby Cassevah watched pinch-hitter Endy Chavez bounce a two-run single through the middle for a pair of big insurance runs before dousing the fire.

Sizzling Howard Kendrick led the Angels with a homer, double and single.

The win went to Darren Oliver (5-5). The former Angel worked a scoreless seventh that ended with Hamilton, in a dead sprint in left-center, robbing Bobby Abreu of extra bases and an RBI following Kendrick's single.

Texas starter Colby Lewis departed after six innings, trailing by a run after giving up five earned on eight hits. Mike Adams and Neftali Feliz finished the job for Texas.

Weaver, working on three days' rest for the first time in his career, struggled with his command.

"Short rest had nothing to do with it," Weaver said. "I felt great in the bullpen but didn't hit my spots. I might have been a little too amped up at the start."

The Weaver vs. Hamilton duel featured two of the game's best. The game changed with Hamilton's thunderbolt that tied the score at 4.

"I caught more of the plate than I wanted," Weaver said. "It was about 69 [mph]. I've had success against him with the curveball. I think he was assuming it was coming. He kind of dove into it and put it where he should."

Walking two of the first four men he faced, Weaver exceeded his average of free tickets for his first 27 starts (1.63).

The Angels scored in the first on Kendrick's ringing double to left-center and Abreu's line-drive single. In the second, Erick Aybar tripled into the right-field corner and scored on Jeff Mathis' single to left.

Doubles by Abreu and Mark Trumbo produced another run in the third, and Vernon Wells' single cashed in Trumbo for a 4-1 Angels lead.

Taking a three-run lead into the third after Yorvit Torrealba homered in the second, Weaver quickly gave it up. Kinsler walked on a full count and Andrus drove an opposite-field triple over Torii Hunter's head in right. When Hamilton unloaded to center field, the Rangers were even at 4.

Kendrick, continuing a power spree, launched his fifth blast in six games leading off the fifth. His career-high 14th homer carried to right-center, returning the lead to Weaver.

The Angels' ace set down the Rangers in order in the fourth and fifth and survived a disturbance in the sixth after Cruz's leadoff double and a walk. But the Rangers were not to be denied an inning later.

"After he settled down, [Weaver] put up some zeros and made some pitches," Scioscia said. "We hoped he was going to get through the first three hitters with one or two outs in the seventh. Murphy hit the line. Kinsler did a good job staying inside. On the bunt, the ball died on the line. That was as big as anything in the inning.

"Hamilton found a hole on a ground ball [against Downs], and the inning went the wrong way. We brought the infield in and [Chavez] tapped one over the mound."

The Rangers added a run in the eighth, which ended with Hunter throwing out Andrus at the plate.

The Angels' offense fell silent after the third, Kendrick's homer and single representing the only damage.

"I like where we're sitting as a team," Kendrick said. "We're not going to worry about this. We need to keep playing good baseball, keep the offense rolling. We've got those three games at the end of the year with those guys. It should be interesting." Comments