Soriano dazzles as Angels take series from Rangers

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Angels starter Jose Soriano kept the Rangers under control to propel Los Angeles to its third series victory of the season.

Starter Jose Soriano allowed one run over 7 2/3 innings and was supported by a four-run seventh inning, paving the way for the Angels to a 4-1 victory over the Texas Rangers on Sunday at Globe Life Field.

It was a much-needed performance from Soriano, who was working on six day’s rest. The right-hander (2-4) lowered his ERA to 3.30 this year in his eighth career start, reaching 93 pitches for the first time this season.

Kevin Pillar delivered the go-ahead single with the bases loaded in the seventh. Mickey Moniak and Luis Rengifo also had RBI hits. Los Angeles delivered four of its six hits during the inning.

The Angels (18-29) are 12-13 on the road and they won their first series this season against a team with a winning record. The Rangers (24-24) lost two of three.

Here are three takeaways:

Soriano stumps Rangers

The Angels entered Sunday’s game needing a lengthy start from the 25-year-old. He delievered with his longest outing of the season, striking out five and allowing five hits and two walks.

The lone run he allowed came on Corey Seager’s fourth-inning solo home run.

Soriano was the latest LA starter to deliver a promising performance. All three pitchers in the series (Tyler Anderson, Patrick Sandoval and Soriano) pitched at least six innings and allowed no more than one run.

Soriano retired the Rangers in order in four of his first five innings. He worked out of trouble in the sixth inning, striking out Josh Smith with runners on first and second as Texas went 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position.

“I thought (Soriano) did extremely well,” Angels manager Ron Washington said. “We certainly needed that type of outing for us to come away with a win today and he gave it to us.”

It was the longest outing for an Angels starting pitcher this season.

Pillar sparks Angels

The 35-year-old Pillar has soared above the Angels’ expectations. Despite not staring Sunday, he came through with the team’s biggest hit β€” a bases-loaded, pinch-hit single that scored two runs to give Los Angeles a 3-1 lead. He would then come around to score on Rengifo’s RBI triple.

Pillar has 16 RBIs in 12 games with the Angels. He already is fourth on the team in RBIs. He is hitting .447 in that time.

Pillar said Soriano came through on a day when much of the Angels’ bullpen was unavailable.

Garcia closes door

Soriano still needed help in the eighth when exited after walking Corey Seager and allowing a single to Nathaniel Lowe. Luis Garcia came in and allowed a single to Josh Smith, that loaded bases with two outs.

Yet escaped the jam by inducing a flyout from Jonah Heim that ended the inning and cemented Soriano’s start. Garcia, who blew a save opportunity on Saturday, stayed in for the ninth and earned his second save after Robbie Grossman grounded into a double play.

Garcia, whose ERA fell to 5.03, threw 16 pitches, 13 of which were strikes. He allowed two hits but did not concede a run and broke a streak of three consecutive outings in which he allowed an earned run.

The Angels will next visit AL West rival Houston for a three-game series that begins with at 5:10 p.m. Monday game, their first meeting of the season. The Astros will start left-hander Framber Valdez (3-1, 2.95 ERA) against Angels left-hander Reid Detmers (3-4, 5.19 ERA).