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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.

Video: Kurt Suzuki breaks World Series Game 2 tie with long solo homer

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The postseason has a knack for finding unlikely heroes. Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki was 1-for-23 in the postseason entering Wednesday’s Game 2 of the World Series. The Nats and Astros each plated two runs in the first inning, then went otherwise scoreless through the sixth inning. In the top of the seventh, with Justin Verlander returning to the mound, Suzuki demolished a high, 1-0 fastball just below the train tracks in left field at Minute Maid Park, breaking the 2-2 tie.

Verlander proceeded to walk Victor Robles, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to take his veteran starter out of the game. Ryan Pressly came in to attempt to keep it a one-run game.

The underdog Nationals held on to defeat the Astros 5-4 in Game 1. Another victory by the Nats in Game 2 would put the Astros — heavy favorites according to oddsmakers — in a big hole.

Update: Pressly walked the first batter he faced, Trea Turner. Adam Eaton successfully sacrifice bunted both runners over. After Anthony Rendon flied out to shallow center field, Hinch decided to issue his team’s first intentional walk of the entire year to Juan Soto, loading the bases. Howie Kendrick then hit what appeared to be an inning-ending ground out, but Alex Bregman booted the ball as he moved to his left. Turner scored to make it 4-2. The floodgates opened when Asdrúbal Cabrera lined a single to center field, bringing home two more runs to pad the lead to 6-2. While pitching to Ryan Zimmerman, Pressly uncorked a wild pitch to allow the two base runners to advance. Zimmerman followed up with a slow roller down the third base line which Bregman barehanded and proceeded to throw away. Two more runs scored. 8-2. Yiiiikes, Astros.