ANAHEIM, Calif.(AP) The
had their ace on the mound and the desperate motivation of their flickering playoff hopes.
With their own postseason ticket already punched, the Angels had a fill-in starting pitcher and a patchwork lineup of youngsters
The way Sean O'Sullivan saw it, everything was lined up perfectly for Los Angeles to win the Rangers' last meaningful game
of the year.
homered, O'Sullivan earned his first win in two months and the Angels eliminated Texas from playoff contention with a 5-2
victory Tuesday night.
Texas' third straight loss clinched the AL wild card for the
Boston Red Sox
, who will meet the Angels in the first round for the third consecutive postseason. With their 93rd victory, the Angels earned
another chance to beat Boston, which has won all four of the clubs' previous postseason meetings.
One day after the Angels clinched their third straight AL West title with an 11-0 victory over the second-place Rangers (85-72),
Los Angeles took it easy, resting two-thirds of its usual starting lineup. Yet pinch-hitter
had a two-run single as the Angels improbably battered
, while O'Sullivan (4-2) combined with three relievers on a five-hitter.
''It's almost like you're more loose in our situation,'' said O'Sullivan, who threw a no-hitter in Triple-A since his last
victory for the Angels on July 21. ''We're just out there having a good time playing the game, and I think that's when you
should play your best baseball.''
Meanwhile, Feldman (17-7) had every reason to be tense, and it showed. He has lost three of his last four starts in a blow
to his Cy Young Award hopes, and the Angels jumped on his control problems for seven hits and three walks.
''It's never a good feeling to get eliminated, regardless of how many games (are left),'' said Feldman, who couldn't get out
of the fourth inning. ''Hopefully next year, we'll be doing the eliminating. Hopefully we keep a lot of these guys around.''
led the Rangers on their most interesting stretch run in a while, he lamented his club's missed chances in the AL West and
''We had opportunities in both areas, and it lies with us,'' Washington said. ''We didn't get it done. Boston ended up getting
in there by default. There's not enough games left on the chart, but we're still going to try to win as many as we can down
worked the ninth for his major league-leading 46th save, a career high and a new AL record for the most saves by a pitcher
in his first season with a team.
had 45 for Cleveland in 2007.
O'Sullivan allowed three hits over five easy innings as a late replacement for
, who was pulled from his start about two hours before the game. Los Angeles manager
won't make their scheduled starts in this series to give all three pitchers a little extra rest.
They might need every advantage they can get against the
, who beat the Angels in the playoffs' first round in 2004, 2007 and 2008. Add the 1986 AL championship series, and Boston
has won 12 of its past 13 postseason games against the Angels.
Scioscia also scratched
and Napoli from his regular lineup Tuesday. Leadoff hitter
, Abreu and
were the only regular Los Angeles starters in the lineup, and all three played only half the game.
But Abreu hit his 15th homer in the first inning, and
had a run-scoring single in the second. Napoli's bases-loaded drive chased Feldman in the fourth, and
added an RBI double in the seventh.
''You go out to win every day, not just when it's for a playoff (berth),'' Figgins said. ''We have the same mentality for
every game. We still have to go out and win ballgames and keep playing at the level that got us to the playoffs.''
had two hits in his second game back from injury for the Rangers, whose admirable playoff run finally lost all its steam.
Texas stayed in the race until the final week, but a September swoon doomed its run at the fourth playoff berth in franchise
Texas also lost cleanup hitter
in the first inning after he injured his right hip while attempting to beat out a grounder. Byrd fell flat on his face beyond
first base before limping to the dugout.
Before the game, Texas shut down outfielder
for the rest of the season, deciding the slugger shouldn't push through the pain from a pinched nerve in his back.
NOTES: Figgins drew two walks to give him 101 this season, the most by an Angels hitter since
had 107 in 2001. ... Angels rookie
got his first major league hit in his first plate appearance in the seventh inning with a single to left off
got his first hit of the season, an eighth-inning double. ... Angels SS
snapped an 0-for-16 skid with a fourth-inning double.