Wilkerson tees off in Rangers win

ARLINGTON, Tex. -- Brad Wilkerson had three homers and six RBIs, both career highs, to help the Texas Rangers beat the Los Angeles Angels 8-3 on Tuesday night.

Wilkerson had a three-run shot in the fourth, connected with the bases empty in the sixth, and added a two-run blast in the seventh for his 13th of the season to become the first AL player with a three-homer game this season.

Alfonso Soriano of the Chicago Cubs and Carlos Lee of the Houston Astros have three-homer games in the NL.

Rangers starter Kevin Millwood (5-7) gave up two runs and five hits in eight innings, striking out four with no walks in his longest outing of the season.

Millwood was in command from the second through the sixth, retiring 13 in a row before Vladimir Guerrero's leadoff double in the seventh.

The Angels had won six of the first seven meetings with Texas this season by a total score of 42-22, but the Rangers have been playing better lately, winning nine of their last 13 overall.

Los Angeles, which has lost five of its last seven, went in front in the second on Howie Kendrick's two-run single.

Angels starter Ervin Santana (5-9) had a career-high 11 strikeouts in 5 1-3 innings, but exited trailing 4-2 after throwing 111 pitches. Santana allowed five runs and seven hits, walking two.

One of those strikeouts proved costly as Marlon Byrd reached first on a wild pitch after going down swinging to lead off the fourth. Frank Catalanotto singled and both runners advanced on Gerald Laird's sacrifice bunt.

Wilkerson followed with his first homer of the game to give the Rangers a 3-2 edge.

Wilkerson added a solo shot in the sixth. The Rangers added another run in the inning when catcher Jose Molina's pickoff throw to third hit Texas runner Desi Relaford for the Angels' third error of the game, with Relaford scoring when the ball rolled into left field.

In the seventh, Catalanotto's sacrifice fly and Wilkerson's two-run blast off Chris Bootcheck extended the Rangers' advantage to 8-2.

The last Ranger with three homers in a game was Mark Teixeira on July 13, 2006, at Baltimore. Wilkerson became the 14th Texas player with a three-homer game.

None of the Rangers' projected starting infielders was at his position on Tuesday night. Shortstop Michael Young, Texas' only All-Star selection, was the designated hitter. First baseman Teixeira (strained left quad), third baseman Hank Blalock (thoracic outlet syndrome) and second baseman Ian Kinsler (stress fracture in his left foot) are all on the disabled list.

Guerrero scored on a Frank Francisco wild pitch in the ninth inning for the Angels.


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