ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—Torii Hunter enjoyed the comforts of home and it showed Monday night.
Hunter homered twice, the first capping a six-run second inning, and the Los Angeles Angels held on for a 9-6 victory over the Texas Rangers.
Vladimir Guerrero, Jeff Mathis and Hunter all homered in the big second inning that gave the Angels an 8-0 lead.
Hunter spent the day with his family at his house in nearby Prosper—which is north of Dallas—before hitting two homers in a game for the second time this season.
“Baseball is all mental,” said Hunter, who had an RBI single in the first and homered in the seventh. “Just coming home to my family, being around my brothers, it kind of relaxes you a little bit,”
Hunter, who signed a five-year deal with the Angels in the offseason, had driven in just one run over his past 15 games.
“I haven’t been playing up to par like I should be,” Hunter said. “I’m trying to get used to this team, my environment, the travel, the whole thing.”
All three of Los Angeles’ homers in the second were off Rangers starter Luis Mendoza (1-3), who allowed eight runs in 1 1-3 innings.
Mendoza, who has not won in five starts this season, allowed nine hits and two walks in the 14 batters he faced.
“We have to do a better job of pitching early,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “If we keep the damage down to a minimum, we can stay with them.”
Ervin Santana (10-3), who was named an All-Star for the first time, allowed six runs and 10 hits in seven innings. He struck out six in winning for just the second time in six starts.
David Murphy and Chris Davis homered off Santana in Texas’ five-run fifth that nearly erased the eight-run deficit.
“In this park with their offense, you have to pitch well,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “Their offense got them back in the game. Pitchers have their work cut out for them. I thought Ervin did a good job.”
Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth for his 35th save, the most ever before the All-Star break. Atlanta’s John Smoltz had 34 before the break in 2003.
Mathis hit a two-run homer that put the Angels ahead 4-0. After Maicer Izturis’ run-scoring single, Guerrero hit a two-run homer that traveled 436 feet and extended the lead to 7-0.
Hunter homered on the next pitch—a 442-foot shot that landed in the second deck in left.
“That was wind-aided,” Hunter said with a smile. “Thank God for wind. I shocked myself.”
That knocked Mendoza out of the game in favor of Dustin Nippert.
Nippert pitched seven innings in the longest relief outing in the majors this season. He gave up one run and allowed four hits—one of which was Hunter’s solo homer in the seventh.
Ian Kinsler of the Rangers went 4-for-5 to extend his hitting streak to a career-high 19 games. Kinsler doubled in the third and scored on Josh Hamilton’s double.
Murphy’s three-run homer brought Texas within 8-4, and Davis’ two-run shot cut Los Angeles’ lead to two in the fifth.
“We were trying to chip away,” Murphy said. “There was one big inning where the momentum swung our way. It just wasn’t enough.”
Hunter’s homer made it 9-6 in the seventh, and the Angels had a chance to build on their lead in the eighth with runners on first and third with one out.
Izturis hit a grounder to first baseman Davis, who threw home. Rangers catcher Max Ramirez was bowled over by Mathis trying to score.
Ramirez, who appeared to be injured on the play, suddenly picked himself up and threw out Casey Kotchman trying to advance to third. The rookie catcher stayed in for the rest of the game.
The Rangers announced after the game that RHP Vicente Padilla (neck strain, bruised thumb) will not make his scheduled start Wednesday. Washington said RHP Matt Harrison will be called up from Triple-A Oklahoma to start Tuesday night’s game against the Angels. RHP Eric Hurley, who was scratched from a start last Saturday because of a tight left hamstring, will be given extra rest. … Scioscia was ejected in the fifth inning by home plate umpire Andy Fletcher for arguing a foul tip call. It was the second time he was kicked out of a game this season.