Dylan Bundy wasn’t thrilled about the idea of making significant changes to his delivery in the middle of a season.
Then again, the opening day starter for the Los Angeles Angels knew something had to change after he got demoted to the bullpen. He won’t quibble with the latest results.
Bundy pitched shutout ball into the seventh inning in his second start since rejoining the rotation, and the Angels beat the Texas Rangers 5-0 on Thursday.
Adam Eaton homered and José Iglesias added a two-run single as the Angels took the four-game series from last-place Texas after losing the opener.
Bundy (2-8), who had a 6.78 ERA when he was sent to the bullpen in late June, retired 13 consecutive batters after allowing Nathaniel Lowe’s single and walking Adolis García with one out in the first.
The right-hander gave up three hits and struck out six in 6 1/3 innings in his first scoreless start since Aug. 11 last year, when Bundy went seven innings in a 6-0 win over Oakland.
Manager Joe Maddon and his staff thought shortening parts of Bundy’s throwing motion would help his consistency. Bundy thought the change would need months of work — in the offseason.
“It took some convincing,” Bundy said. “But it was about rock bottom for me there at that one point. Had to change something.”
Bundy, who allowed three runs in 4 1/3 innings in a 4-0 loss to Oakland last week in his return to the rotation, came out after Andy Ibáñez’s single and a walk to Jason Martin in the seventh. Junior Guerra finished the inning with two strikeouts.
“Just getting used to the stuff that I’m working on,” Bundy said. “Starting to kind of show itself on the field and against the opposing team. So it’s starting to feel better. Still a work in progress.”
Closer Raisel Iglesias preserved the shutout in a non-save situation, coming on with two outs and two runners on in the ninth inning and striking out Jose Trevino.
Spencer Howard (0-3) lost his debut for the rebuilding Rangers after coming over from Philadelphia at the trade deadline in a deal that sent ace Kyle Gibson and closer Ian Kennedy to the Phillies.
The 25-year-old rookie right-hander’s first strikeout with the Rangers came against Shohei Ohtani, part of two hitless innings to start.
Eaton led off the third with his sixth homer, and Jack Mayfield singled for his fourth consecutive hit. David Fletcher reached on a single when his grounder wide of first base was fielded by Lowe, whose toss to the bag sailed past Howard just as the pitcher turned for it.
Mayfield went to third on Lowe’s error and scored on a wild pitch. Howard walked Ohtani and was finished after Phil Gosselin’s sacrifice fly scored Fletcher for a 3-0 LA lead.
Howard, whose outing wasn’t expected to last long, gave up three earned runs on three hits and struck out three in 2 1/3 innings. His final appearance with the Phillies was 10 days earlier.
“It felt good to shake the rust off a little bit and get out there and compete,” Howard said. “I’m hoping to do that more consistently here. Keep pounding mechanics and things get better with repetition and routines.”
Ohtani, the major league home run leader with 37, was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts and two walks a day after the two-way standout won for the third time in his past four mound starts with six solid innings.
Maddon said he considered giving Ohtani the day off, but decided to keep him in the DH role with a series at the crosstown rival Dodgers meaning the Japanese star will be limited to pinch-hitting under National League rules. In eight games since most recent homer on July 28, Ohtani is 4 for 28 with 11 strikeouts.
“He’s just gotten a little bit long with everything,” Maddon said. “He needs a little break right now from the hitting side of things. It happens to everybody every year. We’ll get him through it.”
BIG LEAGUE DEBUT
Yonny Hernandez made his major league debut at third base for the Rangers after the 23-year-old was called up from Triple-A Round Rock when outfielder Eli White went on the 10-day injured list with a right elbow strain.
Hernandez went 0 for 3 with a walk and had a throwing error on a bunt by Brandon Marsh that set up Iglesias’ two-run single in the sixth.
Angels: LHP Patrick Sandoval (3-5, 3.38 ERA) is scheduled for the opener of a three-game series at the Dodgers on Friday. He has allowed three runs or fewer in 11 of his 12 starts.
Rangers: RHP Mike Foltynewicz (2-10, 6.00) is scheduled for the opener of a three-game series at Oakland on Friday. He has a 14.34 ERA in three starts since the All-Star break.