By Jeff Wilson
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Alexi Ogando’s pitching line Tuesday night included no runs, four hits and no rust.
Mike Napoli’s night in his first game back at Angel Stadium included one big “take that.”
But they weren’t the only ones who helped the Texas Rangers keep on rolling. Endy Chavez, Josh Hamilton, Adrian Beltre, just about everyone did something good to open a key series against the LA Angels.
Ogando pitched eight scoreless innings, and the Rangers scored their first five runs with two outs en route to another victory and another shutout, 7-0 at Angel Stadium.
The Rangers have won 12 straight games, the second-best streak in club history behind only the 14-game ride the 1991 team enjoyed.
They have also pitched three shutouts in the first five games after the All-Star break to help push their advantage over the Angels in the American League West to a season-high five games.
“I’m very impressed with it,” Washington said of the winning streak. “The one thing I think about is us continuing to play the kind of baseball we’re capable of playing. Tonight, we did it again. As long as that’s our focus, we’re going to be fine.”
Ogando, one of five Rangers All-Stars last week, threw 116 pitches in his first start after a break of nearly two weeks. He pitched well early and rebounded late after tough innings in the third and fifth.
The right-hander surrendered four hits and three walks to go with five strikeouts. He joined C.J. Wilson with a team-best 10-3 record, and said that he benefited from 12 days’ rest.
“It always helps to have time off,” said Ogando, who hadn’t pitched since July 6. “My arm was fresh, and I felt great.”
Napoli was 2 for 3 with two walks and two runs scored in his first game in Orange County since he was dealt in the off-season. Both of his walks were with two outs and extended innings in which the Rangers scored.
He also caught his sixth shutout of the season and the Rangers’ 13th, which is tied with Philadelphia for the major-league lead.
This performance had extra meaning because of who it was against.
“I definitely wanted to come out here and do what I did tonight,” said Napoli, who lowered his catcher’s ERA to 2.43. “To have the type of game I had feels good inside.”
Chavez was in the middle of the two key plays of the game.
Erick Aybar started the fifth inning with a drive past Chavez into the gap in left-center field. Chavez grabbed the ball quickly and threw a strike to cutoff man Elvis Andrus, who threw to Beltre to get Aybar at third base.
Mark Trumbo followed with a double that would have scored Aybar, and Trumbo was stranded there as Ogando blew away Jeff Mathis and got Maicer Izturis on a popup.
Chavez put the game out of reach in the eighth with a two-run homer after Napoli had walked.
“I’m glad, because every time I contribute to the offense, I feel good,” said Chavez, who was seemed more pleased by his defensive play. “It was outstanding. They could have started a rally right there.”
Hamilton and Beltre capped the offensive output with back-to-back homers to start the ninth, but they also got the offense going in the first. Hamilton doubled to left field with two outs, and Beltre yanked a double down the third-base line for a 1-0 lead.
Ian Kinsler pulled the two-out feat in the fourth, placing a single perfectly in the large hole on the right side of the infield to plate Napoli. Michael Young got in the act an inning later with another two-out single to right field, this one scoring Andrus for a 3-0 lead against Tyler Chatwood.
How Rangers pitchers fared: Alexi Ogando, pitching on 12 days’ rest, allowed four hits in eight scoreless innings. He needed 28 pitches to escape the third, which contributed to him not tossing a complete game. The Rangers are tied for the major-league lead with 13 shutouts.
How Rangers hitters fared: All four of their hits with runners in scoring position came with two outs. The biggest was a two-run shot by Endy Chavez, who turned a 3-0 game into an easy win. Adrian Beltre’s homer in the ninth gave him the ninth 20-homer season of his career.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760