ARLINGTON, Texas — — Max Scherzer allowed only one infield single and one walk while striking out a season-high 11 in seven innings to record his third win in three Texas starts as the Rangers beat the Los Angeles Angels 12-0 on Monday night.
Marcus Semien had two hits and a season-high five RBI, including a three-run home run in the seventh inning. Three batters later, Adolis Garcia increased his AL-best RBI total to 91 with a two-run shot that was his 30th of the season.
Scherzer’s strikeouts included his first two career matchups against Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani.
Scherzer (12-4) has given up one run in his last 19 innings after beginning his Rangers career allowing three runs in the first inning on Aug. 3 against the Chicago White Sox.
“You enjoy these – don’t get me wrong – but I know what it takes to win at this level,” said Scherzer, whose 3,340 career strikeouts are two short of tying Phil Niekro for 11th place all time. “You’ve got to be on your A game every single time. There isn’t any time to ever let up off the gas. You don’t just make your season off one start. It’s the totality of it.”
Mike Moustakas led off Los Angeles’ second inning with a grounder that second baseman Semien dove to his left to stop, but his throw wasn’t in time.
Scherzer’s only walk also came in the second, to Hunter Renfroe with one out. Matt Thaiss then lined into a double play as Scherzer retired the final 16 batters he faced.
Martin Perez followed Scherzer to finish the combined one-hitter, extending the final string of consecutive batters retired to 22.
Scherzer threw 100 pitches with only one inning in which he delivered more than 15.
He struck out all three batters he faced in the first and sixth innings. In the first, he appeared upset when Brandon Drury was called for strike three on a clock violation to end the Angels’ inning.
Scherzer had nine wins with the New York Mets before he was traded to Texas on July 30. His 12 wins tie him with Tampa Bay’s Zach Elfin for the most by any AL pitcher.
Texas batted around in the third and seventh innings. Angels pitchers allowed 12 hits, walked eight – one intentionally – and threw two wild pitches through seven innings before infielder Eduardo Escobar pitched the eighth and gave up one unearned run.
Los Angeles also committed three errors.
Angels manager Phil Nevin said his team lacked focus starting from the opening batter. Nevin connected his lineup’s poor performance with the struggles on the mound and in the field.
“When you have to stand on the field for 25, 30 pitches every half inning on defense, trust me, it’s hard to go up and take a good at-bat, especially against a guy that’s going to the Hall of Fame,” he said.
In Texas’ two-run second inning, Semien had an RBI single with a second run scoring when Angels center fielder Mickey Moniak bobbled the ball.
In the Rangers’ three-run third, one run scored on a bases-loaded walk by Patrick Sadoval (6-9) — his final batter — and another scored on a wild pitch by Griffin Canning, making his first appearance since July 25 after being on the injured list.
ONCE IS ENOUGH
Nevin reiterated that he expects Ohtani to miss only one turn in the starting rotation because of arm fatigue and return next Tuesday or Wednesday at Cincinnati.
His reasoning? “That’s what’s he told us,” Nevin said.
Angels star OF Mike Trout said he’s progressing but has no date for his return from a fractured left hamate bone that has sidelined him since July 3. Nevin said the next step will be for Trout, who began swinging against a machine last Friday, to face live pitching.