ANAHEIM -- The Angels send red-hot pitcher Ervin Santana and All-Star starter Jered Weaver to the mound for the final two games of their four-game showdown with the Rangers.The Angels need big performances from both because their two rookie starters both had rough outings against the rampaging Rangers. Tyler Chatwood couldn't get out of the third inning as the Rangers tagged him for five early runs in a 7-3 victory over the Angels on Tuesday night. The Angels, playing before 43,711 fans at Angel Stadium, have lost six of their last seven games and dropped to a season-high six games behind the Rangers in the American League West with 39 games left to play. They are also 10 games behind the Red Sox in the Wild Card race. "A week ago we were looking right up at these guys," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We were within striking distance, but we've had a rough six or seven games that carried over from that trip into this series. But it can turn in a heartbeat. And that's what we have to keep our focus on -- how we play the game. "They beat up on some of our young pitching the last couple of days. Hopefully we're going to get Ervin and 'Weave' back out there and get right back into this series and this race. So we have to keep perspective." Chatwood's performance, which lasted two-plus innings and 68 pitches, came one night after rookie right-hander Garrett Richards had to leave the game with a strained groin muscle. Richards ended up on the disabled list and the Angels brought up two pitchers from Triple-A on Tuesday to reinforce their taxed bullpen. "We're going to have to start young kids every fourth and fifth day all the way through," Scioscia said. "That's where our rotation is right now. We have some kids with good arms and really good stuff. At times it's going to play well, and other times where you're going to go through some growing pains. Right now Tyler's going through some growing pains. But the three main guys have been lights-out. But you do need that fourth and fifth spot to pull its own weight. And that's what we hope to see."
Scioscia was concerned about the possibility of a short outing from Chatwood. The Angels' concerns were well-founded as both Trevor Bell and Horacio Ramirez were needed after Chatwood's early exit. Chatwood faced 16 batters and 10 reached base on eight hits and two walks."I think he was getting out of his mechanics a little bit," Scioscia said. "He was probably a little bit amped up and his stride got longer again and he missed some spots with some pitches. But he's young. He's got great stuff, but he's got to harness it a little bit. Unfortunately it got away from him tonight." This was Chatwood's shortest of 23 starts in the Major Leagues and marked the first time he has failed to pitch at least five innings in a game since June 12 against Kansas City. He allowed five runs in 3 2/3 innings in that one and was 3-4 with a 3.88 ERA in nine starts since then. This dropped his record to 6-9 with a 4.35 ERA. "Obviously it's a very important one, but you just go out there and try to make pitches and keep the team in the game," Chatwood said. "I didn't have very good fastball command, and then I had to throw fastballs in fastball counts and they took advantage of it. That's a very good lineup and probably one of the top offenses in the league." Bell was needed for 4 1/3 innings, and that is the longest of his 16 relief appearances with the Angels this season. He went four innings against the Red Sox on May 4. Angels pitchers combined to give up 17 hits on the night and have allowed 54 over four straight losses. Rangers starter Derek Holland allowed three runs in 8 2/3 innings. The Angels scored twice on a two-out single by Torii Hunter in the ninth and a double by Mark Trumbo, but Rangers closer Neftali Feliz got Vernon Wells to pop out to end the game. "They're obviously very, very talented, there's no doubt about it," Trumbo said. "But on any given day, they can lose, too. So it's up to us to start making a little bit of a statement for ourselves that we are here and that we're ready to give them a battle. These next two games are very important obviously. A lot of guys are due, so what better time to start doing it than tomorrow?" The Angels, trailing, 5-0, mounted a threat in the third and then ran themselves out of the inning. Howard Kendrick led off with a single and went to third on a double by Erick Aybar. Holland then struck out Jeff Mathis. That brought up Peter Bourjos, who hit a high chopper to shortstop Elvis Andrus. Bourjos beat the throw as it bounced in the dirt and out of first baseman Mitch Moreland's glove. Aybar saw that and tried for third, only to get gunned down by Moreland. "The ball was hit to the left side and Peter can obviously run, so it's not an easy play for Andrus," Scioscia said. "Erick came down, crept off [second] and when he saw the ball pop out of Moreland's glove, he went. From our perspective, it looked like he was going to make third base. But the ball didn't get that far away from Moreland and he threw a bullet across the diamond and got Erick." Bourjos then got picked off at first by Holland. After that, Holland retired 15 of the next 18 batters he faced to take a 7-1 lead into the ninth. "We need to turn the page," Scioscia said. "You can't feel sorry for your yourselves. What we need to do is put together a good baseball game."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.