ARLINGTON, Texas —
Nathaniel Lowe is starting to feel better at the plate again for the Texas Rangers, and one big swing gave them a series sweep.
Lowe hit a two-run homer on the first pitch in the bottom of the 10th inning and the Rangers, after blowing the lead in the ninth and falling behind in the top of the 10th, beat the Angels 6-5 on Wednesday night.
“Right man, right spot,“ Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “The weight was lifted yesterday. Felt confident coming into today and wins the game for us.”
It was the second game in a row for Lowe to have the go-ahead or winning RBI late, following a streak of 19 games in a row without driving in a run for the team’s player of the month in April when he hit .313. He hadn’t had an RBI in May until his go-ahead hit in a seven-run eighth-inning Tuesday night, though he is still mired in a 6-for-64 slump.
The Angels got even at 4 on Jared Walsh’s second homer of the game, a two-run shot in the ninth. They went ahead in the top of the 10th on a fielder’s choice grounder by Mike Trout, who homered earlier in the game.
That was after Texas, which matched its season high with its fourth win in a row, got solo homers by Brad Miller in the seventh and former Angels outfielder Kole Calhoun in the eighth inning. Lowe’s second homer of the season, pulled just inside the right-field pole, gave the Angels their first three-game losing streak this year.
“That’s huge for morale and confidence. And that’s all you want in baseball, is to go out and play with confidence,” Rangers catcher Jonah Heim said. “And if we know we can sweep the team that’s in first place, we can do a lot more damage in the division.”
Heim had three hits and drove in two runs against Angels starter Shohei Ohtani, but the Rangers’ switch-hitting catcher struck out with the bases loaded in the ninth against just-in closer Raisel Iglesias (1-2), who then gave up in the homer to Lowe in the 10th.
“They played us well. They beat us fair and square. So give them credit that they’ve been ascending a bit,” Angels manager Joe Maddon said “So it’s just another example of why our division is so difficult.”
Heim also wasn’t able to handle the low and wide throw from third baseman Andy Ibanez after Trout’s grounder in the 10th with Andrew Velazquez charging home from third. Velazquez started the inning on second and went to third on a single by Taylor Ward, now the big league’s top hitter with a .375 batting average.
Dennis Santana (2-1), who allowed the unearned run in the 10th, was the fourth Texas reliever after Dane Dunning limited the Angels to those two early solo homers and struck out six over six innings.
Texas had loaded the bases against Jose Suarez in the ninth on consecutive one-out singles by Marcus Semien and Corey Seager before a two-out walk to Calhoun. When Maddon got on the mound to make a pitching change, he was ejected after words with home plate umpire CB Bucknor.
Heim hit a grand slam off Ohtani the last time the two-way star pitched in Texas on April 14 and gave up six runs in 3 2/3 innings. This time, Heim had an RBI single in the fourth, and his RBI double in the sixth tied it at 2.
Ohtani struck out seven and walked two while allowing two runs and six hits over six innings. The right-hander also threw two wild pitches, but he still hasn’t lost in his five starts.
When Ohtani lost at Texas a week into the season, he was 0-2 through his first two starts after going 9-2 in 23 starts last season. He is 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA since, even with consecutive no-decisions.