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Pujols hits two 3-run HRs, helps streaking Angels beat Rangers

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Albert Pujols hit a pair of three-run homers and the Los Angeles Angels remained unbeaten since the All-Star break with their season-best fifth straight victory, 8-6 over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.

Pujols connected in the fourth and fifth innings against Kyle Lohse (0-2) for his second multi-homer game in three days, driving in six runs for the first time since 2009.

He propelled the Angels (42-52) to their ninth win in 11 games overall. Pujols even stayed in the game in the seventh inning when Texas reliever Tony Barnette hit him in the helmet, apparently accidentally.

Pujols’ homers were the 578th and 579th of his career, pulling him closer to Mark McGwire (583) for 10th place on baseball’s career list.

Robinson Chirinos hit two early homers for the AL West-leading Rangers, who have lost six of seven.

Tim Lincecum (2-3) had seven strikeouts while winning for the second time in his six starts for the Angels, yielding nine hits and five runs in five innings. Huston Street pitched the ninth for his eighth save – his first since June 14.

Jett Bandy also homered and drove in two runs for the Angels.

One night after the Angels came back from four runs down to beat Texas, they erased an early three-run deficit in the fourth inning with one swing from Pujols.

After Elvis Andrus doubled home the go-ahead run for Texas in the fifth, Pujols put the Angels back ahead with another three-run shot, completing the 54th multi-homer game of his career. Pujols drove in Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout with both of his shots.

Barnette then hit Pujols in the helmet with a 92-mph fastball in the seventh. The reliever appeared to apologize profusely to Pujols, who dusted himself off and ran the bases.

Ian Desmond hit a 462-foot homer, had three hits and reached base four times for the struggling Rangers.

Lohse yielded six hits and seven runs in his second start for Texas before Pujols chased him with the second homer.

Desmond kept it close with his 17th homer in the sixth. Bandy replied with his third homer in the sixth.

Padres fire Andy Green

Andy Green
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The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.

Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:

I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.

In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.

“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”

Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.

For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.