Albert Pujols hit two homers and moved into sole possession of fifth place on the major league career home run list, leading the Los Angeles Angels to a 6-2 win against the Texas Rangers in the opener of a four-game series on Friday night in Anaheim, Calif.
Pujols hit a line drive over the left-field fence in the fifth inning for the 661st home run of his career, moving him past Willie Mays on the all-time list. The 40-year-old designated hitter lifted another solo shot to left in the seventh for Los Angeles (22-30).
Angels starter Jaime Barria threw six shutout innings before exiting after 6 1/3 innings, allowing two runs and six hits while matching his career high with eight strikeouts and no walks.
Barria (1-0) was 0-7 since his last major league win on July 24, 2019 against the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Anderson Tejeda had two hits and Willie Calhoun drove in both runs for the Rangers (18-33).
Texas starter Wes Benjamin (1-1) went three innings in his first major league start, allowing two runs and six hits, striking out four and walking two.
Taylor Ward's run-scoring single in the second inning gave the Angels a 1-0 lead. Ward went 2-for-4 to improve to 14-for-26 in his past nine games.
Pujols clubbed his fifth homer of the season in the fifth to stretch the lead to 2-0.
Andrelton Simmons and David Fletcher had back-to-back singles with one out in the sixth to put runners on the corners.
Jared Walsh then hit a soft grounder to Isiah Kiner-Falefa at third. He elected to try for the double play, instead of throwing home, and the Rangers couldn't turn it, allowing Simmons to score for a 3-0 lead.
The Rangers made it 3-2 in the seventh on a one-out two-run single by Calhoun that chased Barria.
Pujols hit his second home run off reliever Demarcus Evans, who was making his major league debut, to make it 4-2. He needs 34 home runs to tie Alex Rodriguez for fourth on the all-time list.
Anthony Rendon added a two-run double in the eighth to stretch the lead to 6-2.
--Field Level Media