ARLINGTON – The Texas Rangers have clinched their third consecutive postseason berth.
The Rangers assured themselves as being one of the two American League wild card teams with an 8-7 victory over the Los Angeles Angels in Game 2 of Sunday’s doubleheader at Rangers Ballpark.
Texas has a two-game lead in the AL West, and can clinch a third straight division with one win in its three-game series at Oakland beginning Monday to wrap up the regular season.
It wasn’t all good news for the Rangers on Sunday, though.
Third baseman Adrian Beltre left Game 2 with a re-aggravation of a left shoulder strain that he initially suffered making a diving stop late in Game 1. The extent of Beltre’s injury is not known at this point.
Game 1 didn’t go well for the Rangers, either, as they blew a lead in the ninth inning. Things didn’t get much better at the start of Game 2, as the Angels jumped out to a four-run lead.
Rangers starter Derek Holland allowed four runs in the first inning, including a two-run homer to Mark Trumbo.
But the Rangers chipped away at the deficit. They scored a run in the bottom of the first on an RBI double by Josh Hamilton, and David Murphy and Mike Napoli opened the second inning with solo homers.
Napoli delivered the go-ahead blow for the Rangers with a two-out, three-run homer in the third off Angels starter Ervin Santana.
Napoli extended the Rangers lead to 8-4 with a two-run double in the fifth, which was needed in the end.
Holland settled down with five straight scoreless innings, and started the seventh by getting Albert Pujols to ground out.
But Holland gave up back-to-back one-out singles to Torii Hunter and Trumbo. Two batters later, Howard Kendrick drilled a three-run homer to pull the Angels to within 8-7.
That ended Holland’s night, as he allowed seven runs on 12 hits with two walks and five strikeouts over 6 2/3 innings.
Robbie Ross got the final out of the seventh, and Koji Uehara struck out the side in the eighth. Uehara has retired the last 23 batters he faced.
Nathan, hours after blowing the save in Game 1, worked around a one-out walk to Hunter in the ninth for his 37th save of the season.-- Drew Davison