(Reuters) - The Los Angeles Angels' new reliever Ernesto Frieri rescued the team from late-inning danger to preserve a tense 3-2 triumph over the American League-leading Texas Rangers on Saturday.
Frieri, acquired in a trade with San Diego last month, came on in the eighth inning to wiggle out of a jam and maintain the one-run lead, then got through a rocky ninth to close out the victory.
Texas loaded the bases in the final inning, thanks to an error by Angels infielder Erick Aybar but Frieri struck out Josh Hamilton to end the game and hand the Rangers (31-22) their fourth straight loss.
"(Hamilton is) tough. I just tried to be aggressive and let those guys swing the bat," Frieri told reporters after earning his fourth save in as many chances with the Angels.
A pitcher's duel between Japanese rookie sensation Yu Darvish and former Ranger-turned-Angels pitcher C.J. Wilson waged into the sixth inning, where the home team finally scored the game's first run on an error.
Texas tied the score in the top of the seventh before Alberto Callaspo delivered a go-ahead RBI single in the bottom of the inning for Los Angeles with the addition of another run enough to see off Darvish.
The expensive import allowed three runs, two earned, in 6 1/3 innings to fall to 7-3 on the season.
Michael Young had an RBI in the eighth to cut the lead to one, and finished 2-for-3, but the Rangers could not take further advantage once Frieri took the mound.
"He comes in there and dudes strike out. It's one of the most impressive things I've ever seen," Wilson said of Frieri.
Wilson tossed six scoreless innings of the no-decision. The win went to Bobby Cassevah, who got two outs in the seventh.
With their second straight win against the Rangers during the three-game series, Los Angeles (28-26) pulled within 3 1/2 games of Texas for first in the AL West.
(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)