One night after beating the Los Angeles Angels on a ninth-inning home run by A.J. Pierzynski, the Texas Rangers lost on an even more dramatic homer.
Howie Kendrick went deep for the second time in the game, hitting one out in the 11th against rookie Joe Ortiz and finishing with four RBIs in the Angels' 5-4 victory over the Rangers on Tuesday. Nelson Cruz hit a three-run homer for the Rangers, but it wasn't enough.
The loss was a tough one for Ortiz (2-1), who escaped a bases-loaded jam in the 10th when Adrian Beltre turned Albert Pujols' one-out grounder to third into a force at the plate and Josh Hamilton grounded out to second.
"That was an outstanding job," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I don't think you could have been in a more pressure situation, and the kid came in and handled it extremely well. The bullpen's been doing a real good job. These young kids have been thrown in the fire and they've responded. But we went 11, and they got us."
The Rangers tied it 4-all in the eighth with an unearned run against Scott Downs, following a couple of costly errors by the Angels -- one physical and one mental.
Andrew Romaine, who replaced Brendan Harris at shortstop to start the inning, allowed Cruz's grounder to skip between his legs after Beltre's leadoff single. That put runners at the corners for Pierzynski, who hit a routine grounder to first base.
Mark Trumbo saw Beltre break for the plate and immediately threw to catcher Chris Iannetta without looking the runner back to third, and Beltre alertly stayed put.
"That was smart baserunning on Beltre's part," Washington said.
With the bases loaded, David Murphy grounded into a double play as Beltre scored the tying run. Downs minimized the damage by striking out Mitch Moreland after an intentional walk to Craig Gentry.
The Rangers had a runner at third with two outs in the ninth against closer Ernesto Frieri, but left fielder Mike Trout robbed Beltre of an extra-base hit with a full-out diving catch on the warning track.
"That was phenomenal. That saved the game right there," Kendrick said. "I mean, with guys like him and Peter Bourjos out there covering that much ground, two of the fastest guys in baseball, not much really falls out there. And then to have him come up with a clutch play like that was huge for our team."
Beltre couldn't believe Trout was able to catch up with the ball.
"When I hit it and I saw where he was playing, I thought he had no chance to get there because it was hooking away from him. But I was wrong," Beltre said. "It's not fair to have three center fielders playing outfield here (Trout, Bourjos and Hamilton). I tried right-center field the first at-bat and Bourjos got over there. I don't know how. Then in the ninth inning, I hit what I thought was a double for sure and then that guy got there. It's not fair. I mean, where am I supposed to hit it?"
Someone suggested over the fence, to which Beltre replied: "That sounds like a good idea. I'll try that tomorrow."
Kendrick, who hit a two-run shot in the sixth off Alexi Ogando and an RBI single in the first, drove Ortiz's four-seam fastball to left-center on a 1-1 count with one out for his third homer of the season.
It was the Angels' second game-ending homer in extra innings in three days. On Sunday against Detroit, it was Trumbo who provided the winning drive in the 13th.
"It's a great feeling to know that you can leave the other team on the field," Kendrick said. "But to get the victory is the most important thing. Every game against these guys is really tough because neither team lays down, and it seems like by the time the ninth inning rolls around, it's always a tie score.
Dane De La Rosa (1-0) pitched two perfect innings for his first major league win.
Jason Vargas, winless in four starts for the Angels, allowed three runs and seven hits over seven innings.
In the sixth, he gave up a single to Elvis Andrus and a walk to Lance Berkman before Cruz hit his 23rd career homer against the Angels. It was only the second by the Rangers against a left-handed pitcher this season, along with Jeff Baker's solo shot off Seattle's Joe Saunders last Friday.
"He's a really good hitter and he's given me some problems in the past," Vargas said. "I was trying to throw a slider there and bury it. But I hung it up there for him and he took advantage of it."
Ogando allowed four runs -- two earned -- and six hits in seven-plus innings.
"I thought he settled down and did a good job," Washington said. "He got us into the eighth inning, and you couldn't ask for anything more. He kept us in the ballgame until we were able to scratch and get back in it. We certainly did that."
The Angels took the lead in the first with two-out RBI singles by Trumbo and Kendrick. It could have been worse for Ogando had it not been for a sensational catch by Baker, who raced full speed toward the left-field corner on Hamilton's slicing drive and caught the ball as he slid across the foul line. But he bruised his left knee crashing into the short wall fronting the grandstand, and was replaced by Murphy.
Kendrick made it 4-0 in the fourth with his first home run since a solo shot against Cincinnati's Mat Latos in the second game of the season.
NOTES: Baker, who has played four positions this season, made his second start in left. ... LHP Charlie Leesman, claimed by the Rangers on release waivers Friday from the White Sox, declined the assignment to become a free agent. ... The Rangers are the only team that hasn't lost consecutive games. They will attempt to extend that distinction against Jerome Williams in Wednesday's series finale.