After taking the opener of this four-game set in thrilling fashion, the Texas Rangers enter the weekend sitting just outside the AL wild-card picture.
Looking to stay unbeaten versus Los Angeles, Ogando tries to help the Rangers keep pace in the playoff chase Friday night.
After sweeping Houston by a combined 22-5 score, Texas (88-71) won 6-5 on Thursday on Jurickson Profar 's pinch-hit walkoff homer. Winners in nine of 11 in the series, the Rangers have posted five consecutive home victories over the Angels (78-81), with the last four all coming on walkoff homers.
"It's definitely weird, four walk-offs in a row," said Angels reliever Michael Kohn , who is now responsible for two of those shots. "It's not the ballpark. It's just a matter of executing pitches."
Texas, which set a club record with four errors in the second inning, remains one game behind Cleveland for the second wild-card spot and two in back of Tampa Bay.
"We're alive another day," Thursday's starter Matt Garza said. "That's what we're playing for right now. We're just playing to get in any way we can do it."
The Rangers now turn to Ogando (7-4, 2.93 ERA), who is 5-0 with a 1.98 ERA in 23 games - five starts - against the Angels. He has held Josh Hamilton hitless in six at-bats in their matchups.
Ogando has shined in two starts since rejoining the rotation last week. After allowing one run and two hits in five innings to beat the Rays 7-1 on Sept. 17, the right-hander gave up two hits over seven scoreless innings opposite James Shields in Sunday's 4-0, 10-inning loss at Kansas City.
"It doesn't matter who I'm facing. I'm competing with the batters," he said through an interpreter. "They are the only ones I can compete with. It doesn't matter what anybody else is doing."
The Angels counter with C.J. Wilson (17-7, 3.36), who had gone 9-0 during a 13-start stretch before falling 3-2 to Seattle on Sunday. The left-hander allowed all three runs and struck out nine in 8 1-3 innings.
Wilson, whose 17 wins are a career high, has now recorded four consecutive 200-inning campaigns.
"As a starter, you're trying to go out there and make all your starts and throw as many innings as you can," he told MLB's official website. "That's your job, so I'm just out there doing my job.
"The wins that I had this year and the innings, strikeouts and all that stuff, that's for fantasy baseball players. Real baseball players are concerned about winning for the team."
Wilson, who spent the first seven seasons of his career with Texas before joining the Angels in 2012, is 1-2 with a 7.92 ERA in seven starts against his former team. Ian Kinsler is 8 for 16 with four extra-base hits in their matchups, and Alex Rios is 8 for 19 with two homers.
Kinsler is batting .387 with a homer and seven runs during an eight-game hitting streak. He has also hit safely in seven straight in the series.
Despite Thursday's loss, Los Angeles is 16-5 in its last 21 road games. The Angels are 23-10 overall since Aug. 23.
|Los Angeles Angels|
|September 26, 2013||J.B. Shuck||Day-to-Day||Sprained right ankle|
|September 19, 2013||Jered Weaver||Day-to-Day||Elbow|
|September 16, 2013||Peter Bourjos||60-Day DL||Right wrist surgery|
|September 08, 2013||Peter Bourjos||Day-to-Day||Right wrist|
|September 08, 2013||Luis Jimenez||Day-to-Day||Left game - right thumb contusion|
|August 29, 2013||Chris Nelson||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|September 09, 2013||Jim Adduci||Day-to-Day||Left game - strained right biceps|
|September 09, 2013||Yu Darvish||Day-to-Day||Left game - right leg cramping|
|August 25, 2013||Leonys Martin||Day-to-Day||Sprained right ankle|
|August 20, 2013||Matt West||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|August 14, 2013||Alexi Ogando||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
|August 14, 2013||Alexi Ogando||15-Day DL||Right shoulder inflammation|
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- The Texas Rangers finally gained some ground in the AL wild-card race with their fifth consecutive victory.
They still don't have a playoff spot with only two games left in the regular season.
"These last two games are going to be exciting. We definitely bettered our chances," closer Joe Nathan said after the Rangers' 5-3 victory Friday night. "Today was a crucial game."
Alex Rios had a tiebreaking RBI single in the seventh inning, and the Rangers moved closer in the wild-card standings for the first time during their winning streak.
Wild-card leader Tampa Bay lost at Toronto, dropping the Rays into a tie with Cleveland for the two spots after the Indians beat Minnesota. The Rangers, looking for their fourth consecutive playoff appearance, are a game back.
"We just want an opportunity, just want that shot," Elvis Andrus said.
Ian Kinsler led off the seventh with a walk off Juan Gutierrez (1-5), then moved to second on an errant pickoff throw by the reliever who had taken over after C.J. Wilson threw 121 pitches in six innings. Rios had his run-scoring hit after a sac bunt by Andrus, then scored on a two-out infield single by A.J. Pierzynski.
The Rangers don't have to wait long to play again - Saturday's game was moved up eight hours to an 11:05 a.m. start. The weather forecast called for moderate showers and thunderstorms in the area by early afternoon and increasing in intensity throughout the day and into the night, when the game was originally scheduled.
"This is where we want to be ... still in the hunt," manager Ron Washington said.
The loss was the 82nd for the Angels, ensuring them of only their second losing record the past 10 seasons - a period in which they were AL West champions five times.
"To be totally honest with you, whether we had run off and gotten over .500 or not doesn't or can't mask our challenge ahead of how we need to get better," manager Mike Scioscia said. "It is very frustrating. Nothing has changed as far as if you want to talk about the whole season being frustrating. I think that's a pretty good buzzword to put on it."
Alexi Ogando allowed three runs with four strikeouts over 5 1-3 innings. Nathan, the winner Thursday night when the Rangers won on rookie Jurickson Profar 's game-ending homer, worked a perfect ninth for his 42nd save in 45 chances.
After Ogando struck out Mark Trumbo to start the sixth, Jason Frasor struck out the next two batters. Neal Cotts (6-3) and Tanner Scheppers both worked perfect innings with two strikeouts.
The Angels didn't even get a runner on base against the four relievers.
Texas went ahead 3-1 after a wild 31-pitch third inning for Wilson, the left-hander who went to the Angels in free agency after being part of the Rangers' only two World Series teams (2010 and 2011) .
"I just thought C.J. was off all night," Scioscia said. "He was behind every count. It was just a struggle for C.J. Still he got through six innings giving us a chance, he just wasn't sharp out there."
Andrus had a one-out single and got to third on two wild pitches, the second which came on ball four to Rios. Wilson then hit consecutive batters with pitches - Adrian Beltre in the left knee to load the bases before getting Pierzynski in the shoulder blade to drive in a run.
Rios scored on another wild pitch, sliding into the plate almost simultaneously with Wilson, who slipped while coming to cover and got tangled up with the runner.
In all, there were three wild pitches by Wilson and two hit batters in the third. But he struck out the last two batters, starting a stretch of retiring 10 in a row before finishing with six strikeouts and four walks.
"One out of every four (balls) was rubbed up, and then three out of every four were basically brand new," Wilson claimed afterward. "The balls were kind of squirting around, a couple of balls got away. If you're a lefty and you hit a lefty with a slider, that's obviously not what you're trying to do right there. ... You going to call it a coincidence? It's not a coincidence. Let's be honest."
NOTES: Within minutes after the Rays had lost, the Angels got even 3-all on a two-out single by Josh Hamilton for his 1,000th career hit. ... Rios drove in a run with a fielder's choice in the first, when Kinsler scored after walking and going to third on a perfectly executed hit-and-run play by Andrus. ... Hamilton has a 12-game hitting streak, matching his longest of the season. ... Wilson finished 17-7 with a 3.39 ERA. He was 9-0 his last 12 road starts.