The Los Angeles Angels got back on track with three straight crucial wins over the weekend. With ace Bartolo Colon set to try for his 20th victory, the Angels look to keep rolling when they face the Texas Rangers.
The Angels won their third in a row over the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, as Paul Byrd pitched 6 2-3 innings to lead Los Angeles to a 5-3 victory. Darin Erstad and Juan Rivera each drove in two runs and Vladimir Guerrero hit an RBI double for the Angels.
Los Angeles’ winning streak followed a four-game skid that dropped it into a first-place tie with the Oakland Athletics in the AL West, but the Angels now have a 1 1/2 -game lead in the division race.
“I love the pressure and I love that every game counts,” said Byrd, who allowed a run and seven hits with six strikeouts and one walk. “I’ve been on last-place teams and first-place teams, and this is what it’s all about. Coming down to the wire, every pitch means something and you can’t take anything for granted. It’s very exciting. I think all of our guys have really turned it up a notch.”
Colon certainly has. He lost to Detroit 8-6 in his last start, but that was his first defeat since July 16. The big right-hander leads the AL in wins, and prior to the loss against the Tigers, hadn’t allowed more than three runs in his last nine starts.
Los Angeles has dominated the season series with Texas and has won five of six meetings at home.
The Rangers, though, aren’t playing like a team out of the playoff race. Texas defeated Seattle 8-6 on Sunday for its fifth win in a row.
Mark Teixeira homered twice and three teammates also connected as Texas set a major league record for home runs at home. Rod Barajas’ drive in the fourth inning gave the Rangers 150 homers at Ameriquest Field this season, breaking the mark of 149 set by the 1996 Colorado Rockies at Coors Field—long considered the best ballpark in the majors for hitters.
Teixeira broke a tie with a three-run shot and pushed his season total to 41 homers. David Dellucci and Alfonso Soriano also homered for the Rangers, whose winning streak has them back to the .500 mark for the first time since Aug. 9.
“Finishing .500 is not a goal, but I guess it’s better than finishing below .500,” shortstop Michael Young said. “Our goal as an organization should be winning the division. Obviously, that’s not going to happen.”
Texas will play a big role in Los Angeles’ postseason fortunes. After this three-game series, the AL West rivals meet again at Ameriquest—where the Rangers are 44-34—in a season-ending three-game set Sept. 30-Oct. 2. The Rangers also face the A’s in Oakland from Sept. 23-25.