ARLINGTON -- Ervin Santana wasn't much better or much worse on three days' rest than he was when the Texas Rangers beat him on regular rest 10 days ago.
The problem, though, for the Rangers on Saturday was that C.J. Wilson wasn't nearly as effective as he had been that Aug. 17 night at Angel Stadium.
Wilson surrendered a career-high four homers, and the Angels hit five total to back Santana en route to an 8-4 victory at a sold-out Rangers Ballpark.
Each of the homers was a solo shot on a relatively calm night, but collectively they did enough damage to help the Angels regain the game they lost in the standings Friday night.
They trail the Rangers by two games in the American League West and will send another pitcher to the mound on three days' rest tonight as staff ace Jered Weaver faces Colby Lewis in the series finale.
"It makes tomorrow important because we want to win the series," manager Ron Washington said. "They did what they had to do in this one. We did what we had to do yesterday. Now, it comes down to tomorrow. We'll show up, and we'll be ready to play."
Wilson (13-6) had never allowed more than two homers in a game and had allowed only four earned runs against the Angels in four previous starts this season.
The Angels got him for six runs on 10 hits in five innings. Wilson said that he got beat when he left pitches up.
"The home-run ball was working. The problem is I was the one giving them up," Wilson said. "I was aiming down, and the ball was going up. That's what happens sometimes."
Vernon Wells got Wilson for the first time with a one-out shot in the second inning. The Angels added to their lead on Torii Hunter's two-out broken-bat single in the third.
Wilson looked to be headed toward an easy fourth after getting the first two hitters, but No. 8 hitter Mike Trout launched a pitch just to the left of the Angels' bullpen and the light-hitting Bobby Wilson followed with his first homer of the year deep into the left-field seats.
Down 4-0, the Rangers responded in the bottom half. Ian Kinsler was drilled in the back and Elvis Andrus walked to start the inning, and a Michael Young sacrifice fly and a Mike Napoli single would bring them home.
Wilson, though, couldn't provide a shutdown inning. Peter Bourjos started the fifth with a home run, and Erick Aybar delivered a two-out single to score Howie Kendrick.
"You like to have shutdown innings, and with C.J. out there, you expect to get one," Washington said.
The Rangers again immediately cut their deficit in half. Nelson Cruz started the Rangers' fifth with a single, and David Murphy bounced a Santana offering off the facing of the home-run porch to make it 6-4.
Santana, working on three days' rest for the first time in his career, allowed only four hits in seven innings as he maintained his velocity and the bite on his slider stayed sharp.
"Normally, you put four runs on him, I consider that a victory," Washington said.
Koji Uehara also fell victim to the long ball as Kendrick led off the seventh with a blast to center field. Wells later added an RBI triple that provided the final margin.
The Rangers loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, but Murphy grounded into a double play to end the game and set up an important finale tonight.
"Every game is important," Young said.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760