It took nearly three months for the Anaheim Angels to claw their way back atop the AL West.
They’ll look to take over sole possession of first place in the division when they continue their four-game series with the fading Texas Rangers.
The Angels beat the Rangers 8-2 on Tuesday to move into a tie with Oakland for the top spot in the West. The Athletics lost 7-2 to Seattle for their sixth loss in eight games.
“This thing can change momentum in a heartbeat. There’s no reason to put too much stock in where we are,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “The challenge is in front of us, and the opportunity is in front of us also.”
Vladimir Guerrero went 4-for-5 with two homers and five RBIs for Anaheim, which has won four straight since a three-game losing streak. Garret Anderson and Dallas McPherson also homered for the Angels, who have not been in first place since June 8.
Guerrero also had a homer and a double in Monday’s series opener, a 5-3 win. In his first season with the Angels, he has 121 RBIs and 120 runs. Don Baylor, who drove in 139 runs and scored 120 in his MVP season of 1979, is the only other Angels player with 120 RBIs and 120 runs in the same season.
“Right now, obviously his stroke of driving the ball is re-emerging, and that’s great to see. It’s a great time to see it,” Scioscia said of Guerrero. “He’s been about as consistent as any player I’ve seen from start to finish.”
The Rangers, who have finished in last place in the West in each of the last four seasons, fell three games back with five remaining. They have lost three straight and four of five since sweeping three straight from Oakland last weekend to cap a five-game winning streak.
“We’re not going to give in. It’s late in the season, and we’re still grinding,” manager Buck Showalter said. “In a couple of days, we all might be surprised as to what’s happened.”
Gerald Laird homered for Texas, which closes the season with three games in Seattle. The Angels end their season with a three-game set in Oakland.