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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — Drew Smyly has had a long road back from Tommy John elbow surgery, and the Texas left-hander put together a quality start on Friday night that helped earn him his first win in three years.
Smyly went a season-best six innings and kept the Los Angeles Angels offense in check long enough for the Rangers to rally for a 4-3 victory.
"I know it has been a real long time with the surgeries and two years off but it feels like the monkey is off my back and I can move forward," said Smyly, who got his first win since Sept. 13, 2016 — 32 months — when he was with Tampa Bay.
Smyly (1-3), who allowed three runs on five hits, missed the last two seasons after injuring his elbow in spring training while with Seattle in 2017. He underwent Tommy John surgery in July 2017 and spent last season rehabbing while with the Chicago Cubs.
Hunter Pence had two hits and drove in two runs for the Rangers, who have won eight of nine to move two games over .500 for the first time since April 23. Shin Soo-Choo also had two hits and led off the game with a home run to center.
Smyly allowed all three of his runs in the second on home runs by Jonathan Lucroy and Brian Goodwin. The Angels looked as if they were going to add to their 3-1 lead in the fifth when David Fletcher's single and Mike Trout's ground-rule double put runners on second and third with no outs, but Smyly retired the next three hitters, including striking out Albert Pujols.
"I really wanted to get him the win today. He's been battling a lot of things and fought through it. He kept us in the game," Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. "I told him after the sixth that we were going to get him a win and it worked out."
The Angels committed two errors in the seventh that led to the go-ahead run. Choo led off the inning by reaching on an error by shortstop Zack Cozart and advanced to second when Logan Forsythe walked. After the runners advanced on a ground ball, they scored on Pence's line-drive single to center off Cam Bedrosian (1-3) that Trout misplayed, allowing Pence to advance to second. It was Trout's first error since 2017.
"We just got a little sloppy defensively, and it hurt us," Angels manager Brad Ausmus said. "I think Mike was caught in between diving and not diving and the ball took a hop. We don't see errors like that a lot from him, but it just happened to come at a tough time."
Trout had a chance to tie it with Goodwin on second and two outs in the ninth, but Shawn Kelley struck him out to get his fifth save.
Griffin Canning allowed one run and three hits in six innings for the Angels, who have dropped their last five and are six games under .500. The right-hander has allowed only one run and six hits over 11 innings in his last two starts.
The Angels' bullpen lost their third straight game when it has been tied or they have inherited the lead. They have allowed 12 runs — 11 earned — and 15 hits in 10 innings during that span.
After Choo put the fifth pitch of the game over the wall in center field for his eighth homer of the season, Los Angeles countered with three runs in the second.
Lucroy led off the inning with a solo shot to center for his seventh to tie it at 1. Tommy La Stella singled and scored three batters later when Goodwin sent Smyly's fastball down the right-field line for a two-run shot. It was Goodwin's sixth homer of the season, with three coming against Texas.
Asdrubal Cabrera's double in the sixth scored Pence to bring the Rangers within 3-2.
Rangers: SS Elvis Andrus (hamstring) is with the team and remains on track to be activated Saturday, which is the first day he is eligible to come off the injured list. OF Delino DeShields was optioned to Triple-A Nashville after the game.
Angels: LHP Andrew Heaney (elbow) will get his first start of the season in Sunday's series finale after his bullpen session went well Thursday. ... OF Justin Upton (turf toe) has been cleared to take batting practice and is fielding ground balls.
Rangers: LHP Mike Minor (5-3, 2.64 ERA) is sixth in AL in ERA, seventh in innings pitched (64 2/3) and tied for eighth in strikeouts (67).
Angels: LHP Tyler Skaggs (4-4, 5.01 ERA) has won his last three starts against the Rangers and has allowed only two earned runs in 17 1/3 innings.
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