Anaheim, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - David Freese drove in a pair of runs as the LA Angels of Anaheim took a 7-3 victory over the Texas Rangers in the opener of a three-game series.
Josh Hamilton scored twice and drove in a run, while C.J. Cron hit a solo home run for the Angels, who had lost five of seven coming in.
Garrett Richards (7-2) gave up a run on four hits with three walks and seven strikeouts over six innings in the win.
"I was aggressive in the zone and did my best to minimize my damage," Richards said. "It was great to hammer out 119 pitches. It's a big relief that I was given a job this year."
Michael Choice hit a solo home run for the Rangers, who have lost four of their last five. Joe Saunders (0-3) allowed seven runs -- four earned -- on 10 hits with three walks and three strikeouts over just 4 2/3 innings in the loss.
"Joe did a good job for four innings," said Texas manager Ron Washington. "Then in the fifth, he lost his command. Tonight the mistakes we made came back to haunt us."
The Rangers took the initial lead in the third as Leonys Martin walked, stole second, took third on a wild pitch and scored on an Elvis Andrus single, but Cron led off the home third with his fourth home run to tie the game.
In the fourth, the Angels went ahead as Hamilton walked and moved to third on a Howie Kendrick double. Erick Aybar then grounded into a fielder's choice that plated Hamilton and Kendrick thanks to a bad throw from first baseman Brad Snyder. Freese singled in Aybar for a 4-1 lead.
The Angels extended their advantage in the fifth. Mike Trout and Albert Pujols worked walks to start the inning and Hamilton plated Trout with a single. Two batters later, Aybar singled in Pujols, and Freese added an RBI single later in the frame for a 7-1 advantage.
Choice's leadoff home run to start the seventh made it a five-run game, while the Rangers got another in the eighth on a run-scoring ground out from Robinson Chirinos.
Joe Smith worked a flawless ninth to finish off the contest.
The Rangers took two of three from the Angels in Anaheim in early May ... Saunders fell to 1-4 in five games against the Angels ... Richards improved to 4-1 in 12 games against the Rangers ... Texas was just 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left nine on base ... The Angels were 4-for-11 with RISP and stranded six.