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Pickoff play proves key for Rangers

Pickoff play proves key for Rangers

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Pitching and a couple of clutch hits proved big for the Rangers on Friday, but so did a pickoff play in the fifth inning of a 3-2 victory over the Angels.

"That was a huge play," pitcher Derek Holland said after the Rangers won their fifth straight home opener.

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The play occurred with the score tied at 1. Alberto Callaspo and Chris Iannetta led off the frame with a pair of singles, putting runners on first and second. It also brought Peter Bourjos, the Angels' No. 9 hitter, to the plate in an obvious bunt situation.

The Rangers put on a pickoff play, but it was more designed to keep Callaspo close to second and increase their chances of getting a force at third on the bunt. With Holland in the stretch, third baseman Adrian Beltre started charging for the potential bunt, and shortstop Elvis Andrus broke to cover third.

That induced Callaspo to get a bigger secondary lead, but second baseman Ian Kinsler snuck in behind him and Holland fired to second. Callaspo was tagged out in a rundown.

"[Third-base coach] Dino [Ebel] told Alberto about it, and he didn't react," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's a standard pick play. We have it. Keep your eyes on the pitcher. Alberto got a little too aggressive. He just didn't react."

"We got lucky," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "We run that play a lot. You don't always get the guy, but today we did. He was trying to be aggressive. Normally, you're just trying to shorten his lead."

Iannetta went to second during the rundown, and after Bourjos struck out, Mike Trout doubled him home with a run that gave the Angels a one-run lead. But the Angels missed out on at least one more run, and Erick Aybar grounded out to end the inning.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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