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Kinsler homers again, but Rangers fall

Kinsler homers again, but Rangers fall

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ANAHEIM -- The Angels paid tribute to retired outfielder Tim Salmon before Tuesday's game, and the Rangers can't wait until Vladimir Guerrero is accorded a similar honor.

Their pitchers may all chip in and buy Guerrero his own Corvette if he'll hasten the date of his departure from the game. The Rangers have already seen enough for one lifetime.

Guerrero had four hits, including a home run, and drove in three runs in leading the Angels to an 8-3 victory over the Rangers before 42,463 at Angel Stadium. Guerrero is now hitting .440 (96-for-218) in his career against the Rangers with 21 home runs and 49 RBIs.

"We tried throwing outside the strike zone and he hit it," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We throw it in the zone and he hit it. We'll figure it out before it's over."

The Rangers only have one game left in this series to worry about Guerrero. They have other things to figure out. After two games they are still missing two things under their new manager.

They're still looking for their first victory and they're still lacking one measly hit with runners in scoring position. They were 0-for-7 on Tuesday night and are 0-for-15 after two games.

Michael Young, who has the Majors' second highest batting average with runners in scoring position since the start of the 2003 season, was 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position.

"We know Michael Young is better than that," Washington said. "The things that you're seeing, they will get corrected. We will start hitting with runners in scoring position, we will start pitching better and we will start catching the ball better."

The clutch hitting is most glaring right now. The Rangers are working the opposing pitchers and they are drawing walks. They drew eight Tuesday night and have 13 in their first two games. They just can't make the Angels pitchers pay for their transgressions.

The Rangers left nine runners on base in the first six innings, twice leaving the bases loaded in the fifth and sixth innings. Ian Kinsler had his second home run in two nights, but the Rangers had just four hits overall.

"We just haven't gotten any big hits," said first baseman Mark Teixeira. "That's baseball. You still have to give their pitchers credit. They were able to make some pitches when they needed to and they didn't make any mistakes in the middle of the plate. We're just not getting the job done right now."

Guerrero is. He had a broken-bat single in the first inning to help the Angels jump out to a 2-0 lead and then made it 3-1 with a home run to deep center off Vicente Padilla in the third.

"The problem is Guerrero is hitting everybody," Padilla said. "I think I made some good pitches, but one at-bat I broke his bat and he still gets a single. He's an exceptional batter."

The ballgame was ultimately decided in the fifth and sixth innings. The Rangers were able to scratch out a run in the fifth when Angels starter Kelvim Escobar walked two and second baseman Howie Kendrick fumbled Young's two-out grounder for an error.

That made it 3-2, and Escobar then walked Teixeira to load the bases and bring Sammy Sosa to the plate. Sosa battled Escobar to a full-count but then chased a slider that looked high and struck out swinging to end the threat.

The Rangers would have been fine if Padilla could have kept it a one-run game. Instead, the Angels struck back with three straight singles by Gary Matthews, Orlando Cabrera and Guerrero to start their half of the inning, and that started a three-run rally.

"You look at the runs scored and every time we scored, we let them come back and score," Washington said. "We'll be fine. It's just two games. I'm not going to make anything more out of this than it is."

Padilla didn't get out of the fifth, going 4 2/3 innings and allowing six runs on five hits and five walks. But he said he has had no problems with the elbow soreness that held him back in Spring Training.

"It wasn't a good game for me because I lost," Padilla said. "But I feel good and my arm feels good."

The Rangers had one more chance in the sixth. Kenny Lofton's sacrifice fly drove home one run and again they had the bases loaded with two outs. This time, Young was up and he swung at the first pitch from reliever Justin Speier, skying it to right field to end the threat.

"This is definitely unusual for us," Young said. "We're seeing pitches and having a good approach to the plate. We're getting guys out there, we're just not driving them in. We're capable, that's the frustrating part."

Guerrero is capable, too, and he is getting the job done. He always has when it comes to the Rangers.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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