Angels second baseman Adam Kennedy delivered the game-winner with a one-out double that, with the help of second baseman D'Angelo Jimenez's error, brought home both the tying and the winning runs.
"That's a game we'd like to win, obviously," shortstop Michael Young said. "The last thing we can do though is feel sorry for ourselves. We've got to come out tomorrow and salvage the series. We did some things well but ... you have to give Anaheim credit, they battled to the end."
Third baseman Hank Blalock hit two home runs and starter Rick Bauer held the Angels to one run in 5 1/3 innings, but the Rangers still dropped their seventh in nine games.
"I hate to keep saying it's early every day," designated hitter Phil Nevin said. "It's obviously ... hopefully there's some learning experience in this. We've got to start finding ways to win and not keep finding ways to lose."
The Rangers, who led, 4-1, after 6 1/2 innings, did just that. The Angels scored two in the seventh off relievers Joaquin Benoit and Antonio Alfonseca, then completed the rally in the ninth off closer Francisco Cordero.
Kennedy's hit finished off the rally, but manager Buck Showalter said, "A lot of things happened to get to that point."
He was referring to Cordero walking Darin Erstad to lead off the inning.
Casey Kotchman, the next batter, showed bunt on the first pitch, then crossed up the Rangers by slapping a single through the left side, putting runners on first and second. Maicer Izturis pinch-ran for Kotchman.
Jeff Mathis did bunt, but popped it to Cordero for the first out. It didn't matter. Kennedy hooked the first pitch he saw from Cordero, a slider, into the right-field corner.
"I was just trying to stay aggressive and try not to fall behind in the count," Kennedy said.
Erstad scored and third base coach Dino Ebel held Izturis at third as right fielder Adrian Brown ran the ball down. But Brown's one-hop relay throw got away from Jimenez, and Izturis, finally realizing what was going on, bolted home with the winning run.
"We just couldn't get those last two outs," Showalter said. "We played good, we just couldn't quite finish it."
Bauer was pitching on three days' rest after a three-inning relief job against the Detroit Tigers last Friday. He gave up one run in the first on a run-scoring double by Garret Anderson, but finished strong, retiring eight of the last nine batters he faced.
He left after giving up a one-out single to Vladimir Guerrero in the sixth.
"He pitched as well as we could have hoped for," Showalter said. "We took him to his limit on three days' rest. The bullpen picked him up, we just had problems at the end. Rick pitched well. I'm sure there was a lot of anxiety, but he handled it real well."
Bauer threw 84 pitches and now the Rangers must decide if he stays in the rotation or works out of the bullpen until they need a fifth starter. The initial plan was to pitch him out of the bullpen, but the strong outing against the Angels may change that.
"I threw good enough," Bauer said. "I was disappointed we didn't get the win. The way we've been playing, it would have been a nice one for the team. I could care less if I get the win as long as we do."
In the end, all in the Rangers clubhouse left the ballpark disappointed.