Rangers 5, Angels 2
ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP)—The Los Angeles Angels knew their playoff hopes were dashed. No need to punish themselves by watching the finish of Oakland’s game at Seattle.
So the plasma screen televisions in the clubhouse stayed dark, matching the Angels’ mood after a 5-2 loss to the Texas Rangers combined with Oakland’s victory eliminated them from playoff contention Tuesday night.
“It’s hard,” center fielder Chone Figgins said in a low voice. “In the second half, we had the second-best record and Oakland had the best record. They played almost flawless baseball.”
After reaching the postseason two consecutive years, including the AL championship series last year, the Angels’ late-season push came up short.
“We just didn’t reach our goal,” manager Mike Scioscia said. “We just got to get better. From the defensive side, all year was a struggle. Our offensive chemistry was nonexistent early in the year. We set ourselves pretty far behind early.”
The same thing happened against the Rangers.
Kelvim Escobar (11-14) allowed five runs on seven hits in 1 2-3 innings— his shortest outing of the season—dropping Los Angeles into a hole from which it never recovered.
“I’m disappointed because we know we can do better than what we did,” he said. “The month of May we didn’t play very well and that made it difficult for us. We have to be more consistent all year long.”
About 20 minutes after the loss, Oakland beat Seattle 12-3 to clinch the AL West. The Athletics’ win rendered their four-game series beginning Thursday in Anaheim meaningless.
The Angels had knocked a game off Oakland’s lead for three consecutive days with a three-game winning streak, but things unraveled quickly against the Rangers.
Robinson Tejeda pitched 6 2-3 strong innings and Mark Teixeira hit a two-run homer, helping the Rangers end a three-game losing streak. They need one win in their final four road games to post a winning record away from home.
“We don’t take any special feelings from doing that,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said about eliminating the Angels. “From a baseball fan’s standpoint, you’d like to see those four games they have against Oakland mean something. But they’ve got a lot of strengths and they’re set up to be competitive for a long time. They’ve got a lot of things going for them.”
Tejeda (5-4) gave up one run on 10 hits, struck out three and walked none.
“Robby’s been pounding the strike zone,” Showalter said. “I hope it’s the sign of a young pitcher trusting his stuff and attacking the strike zone. He stayed in attack mode the whole game.”
Wes Littleton, a graduate of nearby Cal State-Fullerton, pitched two perfect innings for his first career save.
“It was pretty awesome. I had my first win here, my first loss against them in Texas, and now I’ve gotten my first save against these guys,” he said. “Most of my success is due to the defense behind me. I get a lot of ground balls and they’ve made a lot of plays.”
Teixeira hit his 30th homer of the season on a 3-1 pitch from Escobar in the first inning.
The Rangers scored three times in the second, which Escobar opened by giving up four consecutive hits, prompting boos from the crowd. Rod Barajas, Nelson Cruz and Michael Young had RBI singles that extended Texas’ lead to 5-0.
Escobar was replaced by Hector Carrasco.
Rangers RHP Akinori Otsuka has been shut down for the season because of persistent migraine headaches, Showalter said. … Angels DH Vladimir Guerrero went 2-for-4. He has 199 hits this season and can become the first Angel to collect 200 twice, having had 206 in 2004. … Carrasco went 5 1-3 innings, the longest outing by an Angels’ reliever this season. … The Angels lead the season series 10-8, having won five of nine at home going into Wednesday’s series finale. … The Rangers climbed back to .500 with the victory.