The Anaheim Angels are finally in control of their own destiny.
All alone atop the AL West for the first time since June 8, the surging Angels shoot for a four-game sweep of the Texas Rangers before their weekend showdown with the second-place Athletics in Oakland.
The Angels eliminated the surprising Rangers from playoff contention with Wednesday’s 8-7 win and propelled themselves over the A’s by one game in the West. Troy Glaus belted a clutch two-run homer off Texas closer Francisco Cordero in the top of the 11th inning as Anaheim made sure it would open its three-game series at Network Associates Coliseum no worse than tied for first.
The A’s close out their series with Seattle on Thursday, hoping to snap a two-game skid that has dropped them out of first place in the West for the first time since Aug. 5.
The Angels won their fifth straight when Glaus won a 10-pitch battle with Cordero by belting the first long ball off the right-hander in 66 appearances this year.
“He kept fouling pitches off and then I threw a hanging slider,” said Cordero, who had blown a save by giving up a ninth-inning run with two out.
“I don’t think you’ll see a much better at-bat,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia added. “There was a battler on the mound and a battler at the plate. He made a mistake and Troy didn’t miss it.”
Angels outfielder Garret Anderson left the game in the seventh inning after aggravating his balky left knee on a hard swing. He is listed as day-to-day.
Texas lost its fourth straight game, and slipped to 1-5 since sweeping three games from the slumping A’s last week. The Rangers spent most of July in first place and were a surprise contender after four straight last-place finishes when they averaged 90 losses a season.
“Tonight was kind of a microcosm of the season,” Texas first baseman Mark Teixeira said. “We were up, we were down and in the end we just couldn’t pull it out. I guess you can look at our whole season that way. We had a good season, just couldn’t pull it out in the end.”
Michael Young, the Rangers’ All-Star shortstop, had two hits Wednesday, giving him 211 on the season. He broke Mickey Rivers’ club record of 210 hits in 1980. Young had 204 hits last year and is the only Rangers player with two 200-hit seasons.