ANAHEIM, Calif.(AP) Playing with first place in the AL West on the line, the
Los Angeles Angels
showed why they have won three division titles in the last four years.
hit a go-ahead three-run homer,
each added a pair of RBI singles, and the Angels beat Texas 9-4 on Monday night to spoil the return of
to the Rangers' lineup.
The victory gave the Angels a one-game lead over the Rangers, who led Los Angeles by 4 1/2 games when Hamilton went on the
DL for the second time this season on June 2.
''You have to play well against whatever team shows up on the schedule,'' Angels manager
said. ''If we were playing any other team but Texas, it doesn't mean we don't have to bring the focus and intensity. When
we're playing well as a team, we can do this against anyone. But it's still July, there's still a lot of baseball left, and
we're still trying to evolve as a team.''
(9-3), who had hoped to be selected to the All-Star game, allowed four runs and seven hits and struck out nine through seven
innings after the Angels staked him to a 9-2 lead.
''Obviously, it's one of those things that could have gone either way,'' Weaver said of the snub. ''Either way, it's a win-win
situation. You're either going to St. Louis, or you get some days off. But I'm not going to let it bother me. It's been a
fun season so far, and I've got to keep it rolling.''
Weaver gave up a two-run homer in the seventh to
, which snapped a career-worst 0-for-24 drought by the Rangers' second baseman.
''It's hard to take Kins out for the teams we've been playing,'' manager
said. ''I mean, how can you tell Kins: 'I'm going to sit you against Anaheim?' or 'I'm going to sit you against Tampa Bay?'
I wasn't going to do that. He's got seven days left, and he's going to learn how to grind.''
Hamilton, who was 2 for 4 with a double and two strikeouts, missed 30 games after undergoing abdominal surgery and the Rangers
went 15-15 in his absence.
''I would have stayed down longer if I didn't feel like I was ready,'' said Hamilton, who will play in his second straight
All-Star game. ''It's good to be back up here and be around the guys again and actually feel like part of the team, instead
of just a guy hanging out.''
(8-6) gave up nine runs and nine hits over five innings in the shortest of his 18 starts this season. He has given up 13 runs
and 17 hits over 11 1-3 innings in his last two starts - both against the Angels - after giving up just seven runs in 40 2-3
innings over his previous six outings.
''I didn't hit my spots. When I tried to go away, it would drift over the middle of the plate. And when I didn't hit my spots,
they hit those mistakes,'' Millwood said.
Mathis gave Los Angeles a 3-2 lead, hitting his third homer of the season to left-center with two outs in the second.
The Angels made it 5-2 in the third with RBIs singles by Hunter and Rivera. They tacked on four more in the fifth when Hunter
singled home a run,
followed with an RBI double, Rivera an RBI single and
capped the rally with a sacrifice fly.
''We've seen him a few times. And when you see somebody that many times, you tend to have a plan and you try to stick with
it,'' Mathis said. ''The guys were having good at-bats tonight, finding some holes and producing runs.''
The Rangers, coming off a three-game sweep of Tampa Bay and looking to improve on their 5-1 record against the Angels, took
a 2-0 lead in the first.
NOTES: The Rangers led the Angels by as many as 5 1/2 games on May 30. The Angels have never overcome a deficit of more than
six games to win any of their six division titles. ... Weaver allowed 16 earned runs and four homers in 16 2-3 innings over
his previous three starts - a skid that began with a a 6-4 loss to the Dodgers in which he and brother Jeff started against
each other for the first time. ... Both teams reached the midway point of their respective schedules. The Angels (46-35) were
48-33 at this stage last season and the Rangers (45-36) were 41-40.