09/20/09 5:57 PM ET
Kendrick's five RBIs pace Angels in win
Halos win series to lead Rangers by 7 1/2 games in AL West
By Lyle Spencer / MLB.com
Maybe the big guy should speak out more often.
In a giving mood on Sunday, with Howard Kendrick leading the way, Angels hitters responded to Lackey's request, pounding four homers and 12 hits in a 10-5 decision that pushed the Rangers 7 1/2 games behind the American League West leaders.
The Angels, with 13 games to play, open a three-game series against the Yankees on Monday night at Angel Stadium.
"The boys took care of me, for sure -- on a day I needed it," a beaming Lackey said. "It was much appreciated. Wins, man. That's what it's all about."
Moving to 11-8, Lackey claimed No. 102 in his Angels career, tying Frank Tanana for fourth in franchise wins.
The Rangers let a 3-0 first inning get away as Lackey fought his command, but the Angels immediately rallied for two in the second to keep it close and they won it with three runs in the sixth and three more in the seventh for a club-record 46th come-from-behind victory.
The Angels' magic number is seven. For Kendrick, it was five, the number of RBIs he collected with a two-run homer and a three-run triple that left the Rangers in dire straits.
"We knew it would be a battle," Rangers center fielder Marlon Byrd said. "We knew we had to win some games in a row, and maybe something crazy would happen. But we keep falling back.
"We were hoping the Angels would hit a losing streak or Boston [would] hit a losing streak, and [then we could] see what happens. But they're both good teams. It just didn't happen."
Kendrick personally destroyed the Rangers with three hits on Sunday, lifting his average to .302 -- remarkable for a guy who was hitting .231 in mid-June when he was sent to Triple-A Salt Lake.
"Can you believe that?" Torii Hunter said. "He's up to .300, after where he was. Not many guys could do that, believe me. That guy can hit."
Kendrick's homer carried an estimated 418 feet to left-center in the sixth, after Vladimir Guerrero hit the first of his two singles. The bases-clearing triple the following inning, after two walks and another Guerrero single, took off on Byrd in right-center. Kendrick singled in his final at-bat.
The second baseman had been downcast on Saturday night after hitting into a double play with the bases loaded for the final two outs in a 3-2 loss.
"It kind of hurt me not to get the job done there," Kendrick said of that at-bat against Frank Francisco. "Hitting into a double play with the bases loaded was the last thing I wanted to do. You want to come through for your team.
"I struggled early today [with a strikeout and a groundout], but put together some good at-bats after that. It felt good to have a chance to redeem myself. I tried to get good pitches and drive the ball."
Gary Matthews Jr., Juan Rivera (matching a career high with No. 23) and Chone Figgins joined Kendrick in going deep, as the Angels slashed away at lefty Derek Holland, who shut them out on Aug. 9 at Angel Stadium, beating Lackey.
"He wasn't quite as crisp as when he pitched against us in Anaheim," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "That game he pitched in Southern California was as good a game as we've had pitched against us all year.
"The last couple outings, he's been struggling a little. We had big hits by Howie and Gary, and Howie came back with one in the seventh."
Matthews, whose opposite-field blast gave Lackey a 6-5 lead in the sixth two batters after Kendrick's two-run shot, played with many of the current Rangers before coming to Anaheim and understood the difficulty of their challenge, with Michael Young and Josh Hamilton sidelined by injuries.
"I told Mike Young after our last series that it was going to be fun down the stretch," Matthews said. "They're missing some key guys -- Mike, Hamilton -- which is unfortunate. Somebody's got to win; somebody's got to lose."
The Rangers seized their 3-0 lead in the first on three singles and two walks, highlighted by Nelson Cruz's two-out, two-run single.
"Something was just a little off today," Lackey said. "My last four starts, I felt as good or better than I have in my career."
Lackey, who had yielded a total of three earned runs in his previous 33 2/3 innings, matched that number before he had three outs on Sunday.
The Angels cut the deficit to one in the second when Matthews delivered a two-run single following Rivera's walk and Kendry Morales' double. But Matthews, unaware of the number of outs, was doubled off first on Jeff Mathis' fly ball.
"That can't happen," said Matthews, who was giving Bobby Abreu a day off. "I'm just glad it didn't come back to haunt us. I wouldn't call it redeeming myself. I expect to go out and do something good every time I play."
The Rangers added an unearned run, thanks to Morales' fielding error, in the third. Rivera crushed his 23rd homer, a solo shot, in the fourth.
Byrd's RBI single in the fifth after Elvis Andrus singled and stole second gave Holland a 5-3 cushion, but Guerrero's single kick-started the sixth. Kendrick tied it with his 10th homer of the year, drilling a Holland changeup.
With two outs, Matthews went the other way to right for his fourth homer of the season, ending Holland's day.
"I didn't end up a goat," Matthews said. "That's nice. Taking two out of three, that's what we needed to do."
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.