Anaheim, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - David Freese belted the go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh inning and finished the game with a sparkling defensive play to boost the Angels to a 3-2 victory over the Texas Rangers to open a three-game series.
Garrett Richards (1-1) gave up three hits and a pair of runs over seven innings. Richards, who walked three and had five strikeouts, moved to 7-1 lifetime against the Rangers.
"I felt like I was back doing last year," Richards said. "Everything felt normal. I'm getting my timing and rhythm back. I'm pleased with where I'm at right now."
C.J. Cron had three hits and scored once for the Angels, who split a four-game series at home with Oakland this week.
Huston Street escaped a jam in the ninth for his sixth save.
Before the game began, reports surfaced that the Angels were ready to trade former American League MVP Josh Hamilton back to the Rangers. The Angels are reportedly going to pay about $65 million of the $83 million that is owed to Hamilton through the 2017 season.
Wandy Rodriguez yielded five hits and a run over five innings in the start for the Rangers. Keone Kela (0-1) gave up the homer to Freese and suffered his first career loss.
"Kela threw good pitches to Freese. He left a pitch over the plate, not where he wanted it to be, and Freese put a good swing on it," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.
Prince Fielder had two of Texas' three hits, as the Rangers lost for the fourth time in five games.
With Mike Trout on second, Freese was facing a 3-2 count with two outs when he homered to center field.
"He gave me a sinker and I put the barrel on it," Freese said. "It's nice to get the win for Garrett."
Street retired the first two batters in the ninth, but Adrian Beltre walked and pinch-runner Delino DeShields stole second and went to third when Chris Iannetta's throw skipped into center field. Shin-Soo Choo walked, but Elvis Andrus hit a sharp bouncer toward third. Freese, who was playing in, ranged to his left and threw to first for the final out.
Mitch Moreland and Fielder knocked in runs in the top of the third, before Iannetta's sacrifice fly in the fourth made it 2-1.
The Angels have won 16 of the last 20 meetings ... Richards has won five consecutive starts versus Texas. He joins Bartolo Colon (11), Ramon Ortiz (5) and Frank Tanana (5) as the only Angels to win at least five consecutive starts against the Rangers.