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Rangers Have Helling Of A Game


With Rick Helling in full control, the Texas Rangers found a way to beat the streaking Anaheim Angels.

Helling pitched eight effective innings and Mike Simms homered and drove in three runs as the Rangers snapped a three-game losing streak Sunday night, beating the Angels 4-2.

The Rangers recovered from Saturday night's 18-6 defeat, which had given the Angels victories in the first two games of the four-game series. With Sunday's victory, the Rangers stopped Anaheim's three-game winning streak and increased their AL West lead over the Angels to a 1 1/2 games.

"Last night we didn't play well, so this was a big game," Helling said. "Anytime you're playing the team behind you whether it's June or September, it's big. Today, we played like we're capable of playing against a very good team."

Helling (9-3) ran into trouble only once, allowing home runs on consecutive pitches to Jim Edmonds and Tim Salmon in the fourth inning. He struck out seven, walked one and retired his last 14 batters.

Both home runs came on mistakes, the first on a high changeup and the second on a fastball over the heart of the plate.

"The best thing was that they were solo homers," Helling said. "Quality hitters are going to hit mistakes like that. But from there I settled down and went back to the way I was pitching."

Helling tamed a lineup that had tagged Texas pitching for 23 runs in the first two games of the four-game series.

"You have to give Helling credit," said Angels bench coach Joe Maddon, running the team while manager Terry Collins serves an eight-game suspension.
"He changed speeds, mixed his pitches and hit his spots."

John Wetteland relieved to start the ninth and hung on for his 19th save. He gave up two hits and a walk to load the bases with two outs, but got Garret Anderson on a grounder to end the game.

In their previous five games, the Angels had a team average of .332 (63-for-190) with 10 homers and 49 RBIs. Saturday night, Anaheim had a season-high 21 hits, matched a club record with eight doubles, and scored its most runs of the season.

"You're going to have a game like that every now and then," said Texas first baseman Will Clark, who went 3-for-4. "The best thing you can do is
forget about it. That's what we did and we played a very solid game tonight."

Chuck Finley (7-3) fell to 3-8 lifetime in Arlington, allowing four runs and a season-high 13 hits in 6 2-3 inings.

The Rangers scored three times in first, highlighted by Clark's run-scoring single and Simms' two-run double.

Helling didn't allow a hit to the first 11 batters before Edmonds and Salmon homered in the fourth to make it 3-2.

Simms hit his fifth home run leading off the sixth.

"It's important for us to play solid against them head-to-head," Simms said.

Notes

  • Anaheim had won 12 of its previous 13.
  • Six-time Gold Glove catcher Ivan Rodriguez missed his second consecutive game for the Rangers with a sprained left ankle. Rodriguez is day-to-day.
  • Rangers second baseman Luis Alicea, bothered by a pulled muscle in his left side, batted left-handed against the left-handed Finley. Alicea is a switch-hitter who normally would bat right-handed against Finley, but with the injury he's more comfortable hitting left-handed.
  • In the previous 48 games, Rangers starters had an ERA of 6.30.
  • Clark is 17-for-42 with 12 RBIs in his last 12 games.
  • Texas is 16-2 when its starter lasts eight or more innings.

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