ARLINGTON, Texas — Andrelton Simmons threw his hands up in disbelief, then put them on his hips and stared toward the mound. In the dugout, all Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia could do was shake his head.
“That’s not fun,” Simmons said about his hard liner on which reliever Nick Martinez made a no-look, behind-the-back snag and turned into a double play. “You try to hit the ball hard, and a guy makes a crazy play. That’s baseball, I guess.”
That play by Martinez came in the fifth inning of the Rangers’ 5-4 win Tuesday night in another testy game to get them closer to their second AL West title in a row while Los Angeles scuffles in last place.
“That’s just a reaction. You can try that a hundred times, and maybe get it once,” Scioscia said. “But he comes out and makes the play.”
Angels left-hander Brett Oberholtzer and Scioscia were ejected when Elvis Andrus was hit by a pitch in the eighth, an inning after both benches were warned following a fastball by reliever Keona Kela that went near Simmons’ head.
Andrus was the third Texas batter hit by a pitch after Mike Trout was hit by a pitch in the Angels second.
Scioscia felt the throw at Simmons was intentional, coming an inning after a play at second base when he tagged out Carlos Gomez, who had advanced on an errant pickoff throw but lost contact with the base while sliding.
“For some reason, they were upset, saying (Simmons) had his foot in front of the slide when Gomez slid into the base and then overslid the bag and was consequently called out,” Scioscia said. “I guess they took exception to what was a good play by Andrelton. He wasn’t in Gomez’s way at all. … He came up to bat, and they threw a 97-mph fastball at his neck.”
There was also a short delay in the Rangers seventh when third-base coach Spike Owen walked toward the Angels dugout and had words with a clearly agitated Scioscia.
“I was upset,” Scioscia said. “He was the closest guy in an opposing uniform.”
Banister didn’t give any insight about what happened with Owen.
“I think that my third base coach got asked out to lunch,” Banister said. “They were trying to make plans, they interrupted the game, so I went over there and made sure we kept the game going.”
In the Rangers’ 3-2 series-opening victory Monday night, Banister (arguing a replay review) and Mitch Moreland (questioning a called third strike) were tossed early.
Rangers rookie Nomar Mazara’s 20th homer was a 438-foot drive off rookie right-hander Daniel Wright (0-4) in the fourth to make it 4-3. Moreland added an RBI single an inning later after two batters were hit by pitches.
In between came the play when Martinez (2-3), who threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings, caught the hard liner and threw to first to force out C.J. Cron, who was already almost to second base.
“I guess it happened so quick that it happened in slow motion,” Martinez said. “I just kind of threw my glove up there, there’s no real explanation for it, in hopes of knocking it down.”
BALL 14, BALL 15
Martinez, the first of six Texas relievers, came in with two outs in the second after starter A.J. Griffin’s last 12 pitches were balls, a stretch when he hit Trout with a pitch to load the bases before consecutive four-pitch walks to Albert Pujols and C.J. Cron that made it 3-1. Martinez’s first three pitches were balls before an inning-ending groundout by Simmons.
Angels: Wright was hit in the back of the leg by a comebacker in the second, but was OK. … Scioscia said Jhoulys Chacin, who had a comebacker ricochet off his lower left leg Monday, was sore but should make his next start.
Angels: Jered Weaver (11-12) will try to join Chuck Finley (165) as the only pitchers to win 150 games in an Angels uniform. The right-hander’s 17 wins against Texas are his most against any opponent.
Rangers: Lefty Derek Holland (7-8) has lost his last two starts, allowing nine runs in 9 2/3 innings.