Unless C.J. Wilson can figure out his former team, they may lose it just as quickly.
The left-hander seeks his first victory in five tries against Texas when the Angels host the second game of this crucial series Wednesday night.
Los Angeles (81-67) routed the Rangers 11-3 on Tuesday to pull within 3 1/2 games of AL wild card-leading Oakland, and its even closer to Baltimore for the second-wild card spot.
Erick Aybar had three hits for the Angels, who have won 15 of 20 and improved to 8-6 this season against West-leading Texas, though they still trail the Rangers by 6 1/2 games."We're at the point in the year when we just have to win," said Chris Iannetta , who had a two-run single in an eight-run fourth inning. "We need to find a way. Texas, Oakland, Baltimore, they're all in the drivers' seat, but we've been on a real good three-week stretch. We just have to keep working."
Texas manager Ron Washington said his club fell apart in that wild fourth."It got out of control," Washington said. "We just couldn't get any outs. It was a fight the whole time, and in that fourth inning, they just took the game away from us."
Wilson (12-9, 3.73 ERA) helped the Rangers win the last two AL championships, but he bolted in the offseason for a long-term deal with the Angels. He's faced his former team four times, going 0-1 with a 7.27 ERA.
He allowed a season-worst eight runs in 5 1-3 innings of Los Angeles' 15-9 defeat Aug. 2 in the most recent outing. Wilson's best start against the Rangers came in the only matchup in Anaheim, when he pitched six scoreless innings in the Angels' 3-2 victory June 2.
The Angels have won Wilson's last five starts despite his 5.67 ERA over his last six. He gave up four runs - three earned - in five innings of Los Angeles' 9-7 win over Kansas City on Friday, and he'll face a Texas lineup that may not have Josh Hamilton on Wednesday.
Hamilton left Tuesday's game because of a sinus infection after grounding out and drawing a walk. The major league leader with 42 homers also has battled a sore left knee recently.
Napoli is hitting .463 with four homers in 13 games against his former team this season for Texas, which will send Derek Holland to the mound looking to rebound in the middle game of this series.
Holland (10-6, 4.50) has been pitching well of late, going 3-0 with a 2.83 ERA over his last five starts. He gave up two runs and struck out seven in seven innings of Texas' 5-4 loss to Cleveland on Thursday.
The left-hander, though, has lost both of his starts against the Angels this season, giving up six runs in 6 2-3 innings in a pair of July outings. He's 1-3 with a 7.04 ERA in his last five starts in Anaheim.
The Angels have won five of seven home meetings with the Rangers this season.
|September 18, 2012||Tanner Scheppers||Day-to-Day||Left game - Bruised right knee|
|September 13, 2012||Mike Olt||Day-to-Day||Plantar fasciitis, right foot|
|September 13, 2012||Josh Hamilton||Day-to-Day||Sore left knee|
|September 12, 2012||Adrian Beltre||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained left shoulder|
|September 09, 2012||Roy Oswalt||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right elbow|
|September 02, 2012||Ian Kinsler||Day-to-Day||Lower back stiffness|
|Los Angeles Angels|
|August 30, 2012||Howie Kendrick||Day-to-Day||Left game - sore right knee|
|August 22, 2012||Albert Pujols||Day-to-Day||Left game - right calf tightness|
|August 19, 2012||Peter Bourjos||15-Day DL||Sore right wrist|
|August 19, 2012||Peter Bourjos||15-Day DL||Sore right wrist|
|August 13, 2012||C.J. Wilson||Day-to-Day||Left game - bruised left hand|
|July 30, 2012||Mark Trumbo||Day-to-Day||Back spasms|
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Michael Young thinks the Texas Rangers have done more than enough winning over the past few Septembers to know how to pay attention to what's happening on the scoreboard and in their own game.
The Rangers got great news in both areas Wednesday night.
Derek Holland pitched seven innings of six-hit ball, Geovany Soto hit a late two-run homer and Texas hurt the Los Angeles Angels ' wild-card chances with a 6-2 victory.
One night after the Angels scored 11 runs without Albert Pujols , the Rangers dominated offensively and improved the AL's best record to 88-60 without sluggers Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre , who sat with injuries. Texas also moved 7 1/2 games ahead of Los Angeles - and four ahead of second-place Oakland (84-64) in the AL West standings with the Athletics' loss at Detroit.
"Of course we look at the scoreboard," said Young, who has an eight-game hitting streak. "It's that time of year. I'm a baseball fan. You can do both, though. Obviously, what we do on the field trumps scoreboard-watching, but you can be aware of what's going on."
Young, Elvis Andrus and Mike Napoli had run-scoring extra-base hits in the third inning as the Rangers chased former teammate C.J. Wilson, who flopped in his second-shortest start for Los Angeles.
Hamilton, the majors' leader with 42 homers, sat out with a recurring sinus condition that affects his vision, while Beltre had abdominal trouble. Hamilton and Beltre both had MRI exams, but the results won't be available until Thursday.
But Soto homered and Nelson Cruz had an RBI double in a three-run eighth for the majors' most potent offense.
Holland (11-6) struck out four and walked just one batter to remain unbeaten since July 31 while getting his first victory of the season over the Angels. Working in harmony with Soto, the catcher with a curious habit of singing to his pitcher, Holland went at least seven innings for the fourth straight start.
"We didn't have Hamilton, we didn't have Beltre, but I knew if I made my pitches, the other guys would make plays for me," Holland said. "I'm really happy with my teammates. They've been carrying us, and now I feel like I've got to step up."
Alberto Callaspo hit a two-run homer for the Angels (81-68), who had won 15 of 20. Wilson and his teammates blew a chance to pull within 2 1/2 games of the slumping A's for the second AL wild-card slot, instead sitting 3 1/2 back with 13 games to go.
"You can make it whatever you want to," said Mark Trumbo , who went 0 for 3. "I mean, if you treat it like a dire situation, I doubt that's going to do too much good for us. We're actually pretty loose right now, and I think that's the right way to go about it, as opposed to stressing out and trying to do too much."
Wilson (12-10) went winless in five starts this season against the Rangers after leaving Texas to sign a $77.5 million deal with his hometown team last December. He walked the bases loaded in the first inning and gave up three runs on four hits in the third, forcing Angels manager Mike Scioscia to pull him early for Jerome Williams .
"I wasn't happy to get pulled out of the game, but I wasn't doing well, either," Wilson said. "So it's my own fault. We're trying to win the game, so I understand. ... You've seen their lineup, right? They have a lot of good hitters, not just two guys. Everybody can drive in runs on that team and everybody can go deep."
The high-priced left-hander had pitched at least three innings in every outing for Los Angeles except his first start of the season against Texas, when he didn't return after a nearly two-hour rain delay.
"We know C.J. knows that we are a very aggressive bunch of guys," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "Tonight, we waited and made him throw the ball in the strike zone, and it worked for us."
Williams yielded one hit over 4 1-3 innings of excellent relief.
Pujols went 2 for 4, but made two significant mental blunders in his return to the Angels after missing Tuesday's game to be with his wife, who delivered their fifth child Sunday morning.
Pujols hit a long single in the sixth, but got thrown out by 15 feet foolishly trying to stretch it into a double - a decision made even worse when Torii Hunter doubled immediately afterward. Pujols then dived in front of second baseman Howie Kendrick to field a routine grounder in the eighth, allowing Young to reach base and eventually score.
NOTES: Texas reliever Mike Adams pitched the eighth in his first action since sitting out the past week with right shoulder soreness. ... Mike Trout set yet another Angels rookie record when he led off the first inning with a single, surpassing Devon White 's 283 total bases in 1987. ... Trumbo extended his horrendous slump extended to 27 for 158 (.171) with 67 strikeouts over his past 40 games.... An MRI on Texas RHP Tanner Scheppers ' right knee revealed no structural damage. The Orange County native was hurt while covering home plate Tuesday night when Chris Iannetta scored on his wild pitch.