ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Texas Rangers are headed home for the American League Division Series after closing the regular season with one of their biggest victories.
And they have three Mikes, but mostly Mike Napoli, to thank.
Napoli hit two homers, including a two-run shot with two outs in the ninth inning, to lift the Rangers to a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels and into the No. 2 playoff seed.
They will open the best-of-five ALDS at 4:07 p.m. Friday at Rangers Ballpark against Tampa Bay, which won the wild card. The Rangers finished with the best record in franchise history at 96-66, one game better than Detroit for the second seed.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Star-Telegram
The Tigers will head to New York. The Rangers will be at home.
"It was a great feeling," said Napoli, who was mobbed by his teammates as he ran into the dugout. "It got us home-field advantage, and we're all happy in here."
The Rangers were crowded around two televisions in the visitor's clubhouse after their sixth straight victory, waiting to see which team from the American League East they would play in the first round.
No one really seemed to care who they played or when they learned if their opponent would be Boston or Tampa Bay. It's the Rays, who rallied from a 7-0 deficit to beat the Yankees 8-7 in 12 innings and won the wild card by a game when the Red Sox lost at Baltimore only minutes earlier.
The Rangers knocked off Tampa Bay last year in five games in the ALDS, and went 5-4 against the Rays this season. Tampa Bay won its final five games to get into the postseason.
Unlike last year, the Rays will open on the road against the Rangers. Opening at home, which the Rangers downplayed to an extent since clinching the AL West on Friday, turned out to be a big deal.
"It's nice to know that we're going home, and get to sleep in our own beds," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "I just kissed Napoli on the cheek."
After Mike Adams stranded the potential winning run at third base in the bottom of the eighth, Michael Young singled to right field with one out in the ninth.
Adrian Beltre popped up for the second out, but Napoli got ahead of Angels closer Jordan Walden. The Mansfield High product threw a 3-1 fastball, and Napoli deposited it into the left-field corner.
The Rangers were jubilant, just three outs away from a game they had to win. Detroit had defeated Cleveland about 30 minutes before Napoli's homer.
"We sounded like little girls, jumping around and screaming," Kinsler said. "It was a lot of fun."
Left-handers C.J. Wilson and Derek Holland, who will start the first two games, flew home earlier Wednesday ahead of the team to avoid a possible cross-country overnight flight to New York. The Rangers would have opened Friday night at Yankee Stadium had the Angels won the regular-season finale.
The travel difficulties might have been No. 1a, just below home-field advantage on the Rangers' list of priorities.
"Just the whole point of traveling all night, having to get in and work out, and dragging the day after, we didn't want to do that," center fielder Josh Hamilton said. "Thank you, Nap."
There's still business to tend to today. Manager Ron Washington said that he will use today's workout day to inform players vying for roster spots if they made it. The ALDS roster isn't due until 9 a.m. Friday.
The Rangers are leaning toward a seven-man bullpen, with Scott Feldman the favorite for the final spot, and putting Matt Treanor on the roster as a third catcher. Esteban German is also likely to grab a roster spot in place of Andres Blanco, who is dealing with a back injury.