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Pujols Leads Angels to 8-4 Victory Over Rangers

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Pujols Leads Angels to 8-4 Victory Over Rangers

AP

Los Angeles Angels' Albert Pujols hits a home run. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

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Albert Pujols homered twice to offset another tough day for Josh Hamilton in his second game back in Texas, and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Rangers 8-4 Saturday.

Pujols hit a two-run shot to the lawn in center field off Matt Harrison in the first inning and watched Hamilton strike out twice and fly out behind him after taking three intentional walks.

The only other time the Rangers let him swing, Pujols homered off reliever Jason Frasor in the sixth.

Mark Trumbo also had a two-run homer in the first against Harrison (0-2), who gave up eight hits and five runs in five innings after losing to Houston on opening night.

Mitch Moreland and Ian Kinsler hit third-inning home runs against Tommy Hanson (1-0), who gave up three runs over six innings in his Angels debut after arriving in an offseason trade with Atlanta.

The boos for were loud again for Hamilton, who said before the game that his wife had to call over security during Friday's home opener for Texas because fans were shouting insults and obscenities at their family. There were no major incidents, and Hamilton said his family planned to return for the remaining two games.

Hamilton, a five-time All-Star with the Rangers who went 0 for 4 in his return Friday, walked in the first inning ahead of Trumbo's opposite-field home run to right.

First base was open the next two times Pujols came up, so Rangers manager Ron Washington chose to pitch to his former slugger. Hamilton struck out both times on breaking pitches in the dirt. He flied out to left in the sixth and again in the eighth after another intentional walk to Pujols.

Hamilton, who signed a $125 million, five-year deal to join Pujols in the middle of the Angels lineup, is 1 for 20 with 10 strikeouts.

Pujols' first homer came exactly a month earlier than his first long ball in his debut season with the Angels last year -- May 6 in a win against Toronto.

Peter Bourjos greeted Frasor with a home run to start the sixth, and two outs later Pujols fouled off a pair of two-strike pitches before sending a fastball into the seats in left field.

Pujols had his fourth multihomer game in his last 15 at Rangers Ballpark, including a three-homer outburst in Game 3 of the 2011 World Series with St. Louis.

Moreland broke an 0-for-13 spell to start the season and was the first batter to reach against Hanson when he hit a 435-foot home run halfway up the upper deck in right field in the third inning. Kinsler followed two batters later with a homer to left.

Nelson Cruz homered inside the left-field foul pole in the ninth off Angels closer Ernesto Frieri, who was pitching because he hadn't appeared since getting the save on opening day Monday in Cincinnati.

Hanson pitched around leadoff hits in the fourth and fifth before Elvis Andrus started the sixth with a single and scored on a triple by David Murphy. Hanson gave up six hits and struck out four without a walk.

Game Notes:

  • Pujols made his first start of the season at DH, and Angels manager Mike Scioscia said he planned to give Hamilton an occasional break from defense as well.
  • The Rangers' infield committed its first error after 77 clean chances to start the season when 3B Adrian Beltre booted a grounder in the seventh.
  • Hanson allowed the fourth-most homers in the NL last season (27) and gave up four in 18 1-3 innings during spring training.
  • Rangers INF Leury Garcia made his major league debut as a pinch-hitter for Lance Berkman in the eighth and struck out.

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