Laird homers twice, Rangers rip Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif. —Gerald Laird wanted to shake off his slow start and play well in front of friends and family. The Southern California native put on quite a show for his personal rooting section.

Laird had four hits, homered twice and drove in six runs Sunday to power the Texas Rangers over the Los Angeles Angels 10-4.

He hit a three-run homer in the fourth inning off Jon Garland for his first RBIs this season, then added an RBI single in the seventh against Darren O’Day and a two-run homer in the ninth off Jason Bulger.

“It’s special to have a big day like this at home. I’ve been coming back here for a couple of years now, but it’s still nice to come home and see your mom, dad and grandparents and eat some home-cooked meals,” said Laird, who estimated 40 of his friends and family members were at the game.

Laird had just one hit in 11 at-bats coming in, then went 4-for-5 with a career high in RBIs and his second two-homer game.

“I got off to a bad start in Seattle, but I was seeing the ball good and I felt like I had good at-bats,” he said of the season-opening series against the Mariners. “So I thought this was going to be the series that I come out. Luckily today, I got some good pitches to hit.”

Texas manager Ron Washington said Laird had a good all-around game.

“He called a good game, he swung the bat well and I’m very pleased for him,” Washington said. “It’s very nice that he ended up breaking out like this, especially at home. I just want him to stay consistent. He has the capability of doing what he did today.”

Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia was impressed.

“Laird’s got some pop and he really showed it today,” Scioscia said.

Ben Broussard hit a two-run homer for Texas, which took two of three in the Angels’ home-opening series.

Garland (1-1), acquired from the Chicago White Sox during the offseason for shortstop Orlando Cabrera, made his home debut for the Angels and allowed seven runs and eight hits in five innings. He said he never got comfortable.

“I felt a little lost,” he said. “I was kind of all over the place with my pitches, never really established anything.”

Given a 1-0 lead on Anderson’s second-inning homer, Garland fell behind when Laird singled, Ramon Vazquez tripled off the center-field wall and Ian Kinsler hit a sacrifice fly.

Laird homered in the fourth for a 5-1 lead. Hunter hit his second homer as the Angels closed within two runs in the bottom half. Broussard homered to make it 7-3 in the fifth.

Texas reliever Joaquin Benoit struck out the heart of the Angels’ lineup in the eighth: Vladimir Guerrero, Anderson and Hunter.