Los Angeles Angels at Texas Rangers
- The Rangers (114) and Angels (111) combined for 225 runs in last year's season series, the most between any two opponents in 2012. The Angels went 10-9 versus Texas.
- After losing two of three games at Cincinnati, the Angels have opened 1-2 for the fifth straight season. Angels hitters combined for an .091 (2-for-22) batting average with runners in scoring position versus the Reds.
- Rangers pitchers have not allowed any runs while striking out 15 batters each of the past two games. They're the only team since 1921 to turn that trick.
- After opening 0-for-8 to begin the season, Albert Pujols collected his first hit, a third-inning double, on Thursday. Nevertheless, after no home runs and just four RBI last April, he's now 1-for-11 (.091) after three games.
- Lance Berkman has begun his Rangers career by going 6-for-10 (.600) with three walks (.692 OBP) over his first three games. He is 4-for-5 (.800) with runners on base.
- With 298 career saves, Joe Nathan needs two more to reach 300 in his career. Through his first 16 career appearances against the Angels, Nathan converted all 13 save opportunities while compiling a 0.44 ERA. But in 12 games since July 2009, he's 2-for-4 in save opportunities with a 6.75 ERA.
- 2-time Cy Young winner Halladay retires
- Torre, La Russa, Cox elected to Hall
- Maddon understands Rays may move Price
- Winter meetings open quietly in Florida
- Marvin Miller fails in sixth Hall try
By JEFF BARTL
(AP) -- Now that the expected jeers that showered Josh Hamilton in his return to Texas are out of the way, he can focus on helping the Los Angeles Angels win baseball games.
After a rough first contest against his former team, Hamilton looks to help Los Angeles end a three-game skid Saturday against the Texas Rangers.
Much of Texas' home opener was focused on Hamilton's first game as an opponent at Rangers Ballpark since he signed a five-year, $125 million contract with the Angels in the offseason.
Hamilton struck out his first two times up, lined out in the sixth inning and flew out in the ninth of Friday's 3-2 defeat. Los Angeles has dropped three straight one-run games since winning its opener Monday at Cincinnati.
Chris Iannetta hit a solo homer in the third and Mike Trout had an RBI double to give him a hit in each game this season for the Angels.
Hamilton, who was booed by the Texas fans after going 0 for 4 in a 5-1 loss to Baltimore in the AL wild-card game in his final contest in a Rangers uniform, is 1 for 16 with eight strikeouts on the season.
"I got worn out as good today as I had anywhere else. The booing was a little louder. The chants, I've been called a crack head before at Yankee Stadium and places like that, just like it was today," Hamilton said. "It probably hurt a little more to know that people would turn that quickly. To think that they kind of supported you as far as personal, your story, things like that. Just tells you a lot."
The Rangers (3-1) don't seem too affected by the loss of Hamilton, winning for the third straight time. Adrian Beltre tied the game with a homer in the seventh before Ian Kinsler's RBI single with two outs in the eighth helped Texas win its fifth straight home opener.
"That was a heck of a victory," manager Ron Washington told the team's official website. "We grinded out that game the whole way and finally got it done. I wouldn't say that's the blueprint, because we're still capable of scoring a lot of runs. We're capable of winning any way."
Texas looks to keep rolling as it sends Matt Harrison to the mound for his second start.
Harrison (0-1, 7.94 ERA) struck out a career high-tying nine but allowed six runs in 5 2-3 innings of Sunday's season-opening 8-2 loss to Houston. The left-hander, who signed a five-year, $55 million contract this offseason after winning a career-best 18 games, became the fourth pitcher in the last 25 seasons to strike out at least nine yet suffer a loss on Opening Day.
"It was the opener, not the last game of the season," Harrison said. "You're not going to win or lose the division on the first game of the season, but it would have been nice to win the game."
He hasn't been very good against the Angels recently, either, going 1-3 with a 4.31 ERA in his last five matchups.
Los Angeles will counter with Tommy Hanson, who will be making his team debut after being acquired from Atlanta in November for reliever Jordan Walden.
The right-hander went 13-10 with a 4.48 ERA in 2012. His ERA has risen each season since going 11-4 with a 2.89 ERA as a rookie for the Braves in 2009. Hansen, who has never faced the Rangers, went 1-5 with a 5.14 ERA over his final eight starts last season.
A.J. Pierzynski, who is 6 for 14 this season, has singled in each of his three career plate appearances versus Hanson.
Updated April 5, 2013