Arlington, TX – Adrian Beltre tied the game with a seventh- inning homer and Ian Kinsler plated the winning run with an eighth-inning single, as Texas clipped the Angels, 3-2, in the opener of a three-game set between the clubs.
"That was a heck of a win," said Rangers manager Ron Washington. We ground it out the whole way. I wouldn't say it's a blueprint for the way we want to win games, but we're capable of winning any way we want. With the pitching and defense, we only needed three."
A.J. Pierzynski added an RBI triple for the Rangers, who were coming off a series win at Houston to begin the season.
Tanner Scheppers (1-0) tossed a scoreless eighth to earn the win and Joe Nathan followed suit in the ninth for his first save. Texas starter Derek Holland allowed six hits and two runs with five strikeouts in his seven-inning outing.
Chris Iannetta homered and Mike Trout hit a run-scoring double for Los Angeles, which has dropped three in a row after an Opening Day victory.
Josh Hamilton's return to Arlington did not go well, as the new Angels outfielder was soundly booed by his former home crowd during an 0-for-4 performance which included a pair of strikeouts.
"Josh couldn't get the barrel on some of them and got a little anxious. I don't know if Josh was so amped it affected his performance. He's a little disappointed with the way the day went," noted Angels manager Mike Scioscia.
In his Halos' debut, Jason Vargas surrendered eight hits and one run over 5 2/3 frames. Scott Downs (0-1) was charged with the deciding run.
Beltre tied the game on a shot to left center with two down in the seventh, and the Rangers took the lead for good in the eighth.
Craig Gentry singled with one down, stole second and scored on a two-out single to right from Kinsler -- who took second on a wild throw to the plate for a 3-2 Texas edge.
"I had a lot of opportunities with runners in scoring position and two outs, so it's a relief to finally get a hit there," said Kinsler.
Scheppers retired the side in order to complete his relief inning, and Nathan recovered from a two-out walk to Mark Trumbo by getting Howie Kendrick on a game-ending fly to center.
Pierzynski's RBI triple in the home second put the Rangers on the board, but Iannetta's solo shot to left in the top of the third evened the score.
Alberto Callaspo began the fifth with a single, then Iannetta followed with a base hit. The former was picked off third when the latter stole second, then Iannetta was doubled home by Trout to give the Angels a 2-1 edge.
Vargas held onto the margin through the sixth, when he departed with a runner on third and two outs. Kevin Jepsen ended the frame by inducing a fly out from Kinsler.
Hamilton departed the Rangers in the offseason as a free agent after a stellar five-year run that saw him hit .305 with 142 homers, 156 doubles, 419 runs scored and 506 RBI in 647 games, which included a 2010 AL MVP nod and two World Series appearances ... Pierzynski and Nelson Cruz each collected three hits for Texas.