With Mike Trout sidelined with back problems, the Los Angeles Angels have received an offensive jolt from an unlikely source.
Luis Rengifo hit a go-ahead, two-run double and the Angels scored five runs in the eighth inning to beat the Texas Rangers 9-7 on Saturday.
Rengifo has one hit in 27 of his last 30 games and is hitting .351 during that span. His .337 batting average in July ranks him 13th in the American League among players with 60 or more plate appearances.
“I feel comfortable. It’s more like going out there, doing my job and concentrating every time I take my at-bats and help my team,” said Rengifo, who started the season at Triple-A Salt Lake before being called up Sept. 8. May “More experience is being gained, which helps to make adjustments and see results.”
Rengifo also stole two bases and made a couple of good defensive plays to help Los Angeles bounce back after losing the first two games of the series.
Shohei Ohtani hit his 22nd home run in the third inning, a three-run homer, but the Angels trailed 7-4 entering the eighth inning. David Fletcher, who entered in the third after Phil Gosselin was hit, hit a two-run double off the left-field wall with one out to pull Los Angeles within 7-6.
After pinch hitter Kurt Suzuki struck out, Ohtani was intentionally walked and Taylor Ward was walked by Brett Martin (0-7). Fletcher tied the score at 7 when he scored on a wild pitch, and Rengifo followed with a line drive to right center to put the Angels on top.
“He chased one early and stayed behind. Then he goes through it and gets a pitch and pushes it into the gap,” interim manager Phil Nevin said. “That has been a shot in the arm for us. His energy and work ethic, the guys feed off of that. Our offense has been a little bit better and he’s a big part of that.”
Max Stassi added two hits and an RBI for the Angels. Touki Toussaint (1-0), who replaced starter Chase Silseth in the fifth, got the win in his Halos debut after giving up two runs in four innings.
Raisel Iglesias gave up a one-out single to Marcus Semien and walked Jonah Heim before striking out Nathaniel Lowe and fliing out Adolis Garcia to center field for his 16th save and first since June 29.
Semien and Meibrys Viloria homered for the Rangers.
Semien hit a three-run homer to center off Silseth (1-4) in the fourth inning to give Texas a 5-3 lead. Viloria had a two-run shot to center on a Toussaint sinker that stayed high in the strike zone to make it 7-4.
“We just don’t execute at the end. We had them where we wanted them and we had them lined up,” manager Chris Woodward said. “We had seven on the board pretty early. I would have loved to add in the middle innings, but it was a pretty good night offensively.”
Silseth, called up from Double-A Rocket City for his third stint with the Angels this season, allowed five runs on five hits with five strikeouts. All four of his walks were converted into runs by the Angels.
Texas right-hander Glenn Otto pitched five innings and allowed four runs on four hits with five strikeouts. The rookie is 0-5 in his last seven starts and hasn’t won since June 4.
THE EARLY EXPLOSION OF OHTANI
The Rangers took a 2-0 lead in the third on RBI singles by Lowe and Garcia before the Angels took the lead at the home half. Gosselin took a hit from Otto, and Andrew Velazquez had a bunt single before Ohtani powered Otto’s 88 mph changeup into the raised bleachers in center field.
The reigning AL MVP has gone deep three times since the All-Star break. His 22 home runs are tied for eighth and his 62 RBIs are tied for sixth in the American League.
Rangers: SS Corey Seager (right lower leg contusion) was out of the lineup for the second day in a row. Woodward said Seager can’t put much weight on his leg. … OF Leody Taveras had the night off. He is 10-for-35 in the first nine games of Texas’ 11-game road trip.
Angels: Nevin said Gosselin was “fine” after the game. … RHP Jimmy Herget (right shoulder impingement) could activate as soon as Sunday. He pitched two shutout innings for Double-A Rocket City on Friday.
The Angels also recalled Toussaint from Triple-A Salt Lake after right-handers José Marte and Elvis Peguero were optioned to Salt Lake.
UNTIL NEXT TIME
Rangers: RHP Dane Dunning (1-6, 4.38 ERA) is the only pitcher in the majors this season with at least seven quality starts and one or fewer wins.
Angels: LHP Reid Detmers (3-3, 3.84 ERA) faces Texas for the fourth time this year. He is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA (13 earned runs allowed in 13 innings) in the previous three outings.