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OC Register: Dylan Bundy leads Angels to another victory over last-place Rangers

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ARLINGTON, Texas — We know the Angels can beat up on worse teams. If they are going to get back into the playoff race, now is the time for them to prove they can do more.

Led by a resurgent Dylan Bundy pitching into the seventh inning, the Angels beat the Texas Rangers 5-0 on Thursday afternoon, taking three of four from the last-place team in the division.

Now the Angels are about to have three straight series and a one-game makeup against teams with better records than theirs: the Dodgers, Toronto Blue Jays, Houston Astros and New York Yankees.

For the past month, the Angels (55-54) have won every series against a team with a worse record and lost every series against a team with a better record, which explains why they’ve been hovering around .500.

The Dodgers will certainly present a challenge, although the Angels won two of three against them earlier this season at Angel Stadium in one of the few series to break their pattern.

This weekend, the Angels will use three young starters, giving the ball to 24-year-old Patrick Sandoval on Friday, followed by 25-year-old Jaime Barria and 22-year-old Reid Detmers. It will be just the second big-league start for Detmers.

“I’m excited,” Manager Joe Maddon said. “I really am. This could be a glimpse into the future. All three are very talented. They’re gonna face a good lineup in circumstances that they’re not used to, which I like too. The plus side, obviously, is that if we come through that really well, confidence can really soar. And that’s what I’m looking forward to.”

Maddon said he’s actually less concerned about his pitchers than his lineup.

Mike Trout and Anthony Rendon, who is out for the year, will be on the injured list. Jared Walsh is eligible to return from the injured list this weekend, but may not be ready. And Shohei Ohtani isn’t expected to get more than pinch-hitting opportunities this weekend because they won’t have the DH.

“That, to me, is going to be more problematic,” Maddon said. “I really anticipate our young pitchers to pitch well.”

All Angels pitchers have been on a pretty good roll lately, even with Bundy getting into the act late in what has been a forgettable season.

After emerging as the Angels’ best pitcher in 2020, Bundy struggled to a 6.78 ERA before he was yanked from the rotation just over a month ago. He got a second chance only because of Alex Cobb’s injury.

In his past two starts, he’s allowed three runs in 11 innings, and all of them were in the first inning of his previous outing.

Bundy breezed through the Rangers lineup Thursday, without allowing a runner into scoring position after the first inning. He escaped a first-and-second, one-out situation with a strikeout and a popout.

Those were the first two outs of a stretch in which he retired 13 in a row and 18 of 19. Bundy was pulled after 6 1/3 innings, his longest outing since April 13.

Bundy got a three-run lead in the third, when Adam Eaton hit his first homer with the Angels and they tacked on two more with the help of a Rangers error and a wild pitch.

More to come on this story.

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