ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Adrian Beltre swatted a two-run homer in the ninth inning Thursday, and Yu Darvish allowed only one run in eight strong innings as the Rangers edged past the Angels 3-1 to win the three-game series at Angel Stadium.
Beltre wasn't in the original Rangers' lineup after missing Wednesday with undiagnosed intestinal pain. But he felt good enough to play after taking batting practice, but was 0-for-3 before crushing an Ernesto Frieri pitch to left field after Michael Young had started the ninth with a single.
The victory kept the Rangers four games ahead of Oakland in the American League West, and dropped the third-place Angels 8 1/2 games back and all but out of the division hunt.
Darvish (16-9) and Zack Greinke matched zeroes for the first four innings, allowing a hit a piece, before the Rangers broke through in the fifth with a run that shouldn't have scored.
Cruz opened with a single and went to third as the next batter, David Murphy, singled on a hit-and-run play. Geovany Soto followed with a flyball that Torii Hunter caught in medium right field.
The veteran threw a one-hopper home, and Cruz slid across the plate and was called safe ahead of Chris Iannetta's tag. Replays showed that Cruz's slide beat the throw, but his left hand never touched the plate.
The Angels used their own hit-and-run with no outs in the sixth to help them tie the game. Mark Trumbo started with a single on a 1-2 pitch that angered Darvish, and pinch-runner Peter Bourjos went to third as Iannetta followed with a single.
After Mike Trout struck out, Torii Hunter brought home Bourjos with a one-out grounder that was hit too slowly to turn a double play.
But that was all the Angels would get against Darvish, who struck out nine. He finished with a flourish, striking out the side in a perfect eighth inning.
Joe Nathan pitched around a two-out double by Albert Pujols to record his 34th save.
-- Jeff Wilson