ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The newest arms in the Texas Rangers' bullpen prefer to let the results speak as to how glad they are to be pitching for a first-place team.
Or, in other words, to not be pitching anymore for a last-place team.
Mike Adams and Koji Uehara, especially Uehara, have showed some emotion on the field, too, since being acquired before the July 31 trade deadline.
Each is doing his best to keep focused on the task at hand rather than thinking about the situation he left behind or considering the possibility of winning the American League West and pitching in the postseason.
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But what they won't put into words is coming out during their performances. It's easy to see, just by watching them on the mound, that they are thrilled to be in a pennant race.
"What we're seeing is their personalities," manager Ron Washington said Tuesday before the Rangers and Angels played the second game of their four-game series.
"Their personalities are conducive to being in winning situations. They go out on the mound like animals."
Adams and Uehara have shored up a bullpen that needed a lift at the deadline.
They have allowed three runs in their 15 innings since Baltimore dealt away Uehara on July 30 and San Diego traded Adams a day later.
The Rangers entered Tuesday with a 9-4 record since Aug. 1 and were a season-high 18 games above .500. The Orioles and Padres, meanwhile, were a combined 40 games under .500.
For Adams, who just missed out on the playoffs last year as San Francisco overtook San Diego in the final weekend to win the National League West, each loss got tougher and tougher.
"It got to the point where it just wasn't as fun," Adams said. "This year for all the expectations we had in San Diego, it was discouraging and it was more just going through the motions.
"I'm not going to take anything that's happening here for granted. A five-game lead is nothing, really. I understand that you've got to play a full six months."
Adams worked both games over the weekend at Oakland and earned his first AL victory as the Rangers scored once in the ninth to fend off the A's, who had erased a 6-0 deficit.
Unlike when he was with the offense-starved Padres, Adams knew the Rangers were going to win the game as long as he didn't allow the A's to score in the eighth.
"At no point in that game, even after we lost the lead, did I feel we were going to lose," said Adams, who has the second-best ERA (1.12) among all major league relievers. "With this offense, if we could just keep it close, we'd give the guys an opportunity to put a run on the board."
Baltimore was never a contender in the AL East while Uehara was there, and he hasn't sniffed the playoffs since he was starring for Yomiuri in the Japanese Central League.
He said he isn't sure how he will handle the stretch drive in his first chance in the major leagues, though so far he is enjoying the ride. He gave a few fist pumps Monday night while snuffing out the Angels in the seventh and eighth innings.
Uehara recorded five outs on 17 pitches against the top of the Angels' order.
"I haven't changed anything, basically," said Uehara, who is holding hitters to a .154 average. "Whether I pitch for a last-place team or a first-place team, everything is the same. If I shut them down, I'm happy."
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760