The West has been won. The Texas Rangers exploded for six runs in the seventh to blow open a tight game and beat the Los Angeles Angels 9-2 Sunday afternoon at Globe Life Park.
The Rangers clinched the American League West division title with the win, the regular-season finale. Texas opens a best-of-five ALDS against the Blue Jays in Toronto on Thursday.
Pitching: Cole Hamels recorded two quick outs in the first inning before Mike Trout doubled with two strikes and Albert Pujols homered to center field to give the Angels a 2-0 lead.
After the two hits in the first and a double in the second, Hamels held the Angels hitless the last seven innings to close it out. It’s his second complete game this season and first since he threw a no-hitter with the Phillies in July, his last start before being traded to Texas.
Hitting: The Rangers scored one in the first to make it 2-1 but left more more on the table. Delino DeShields and Shin-Soo Choo started it with walks. DeShields scored on Prince Fielder’s single to left. With two on and no outs, Adrian Beltre and Mitch Moreland flew out and Josh Hamilton struck out to end the inning. Beltre’s two-run homer in the fifth gave Texas a 3-2 lead. Angels starter Garrett Richards left after allowing three runs on six hits and two walks over six innings. Texas blew it open in the seventh. The Rangers batted around and sored six runs Chris Gimenez led off with a walk and DeShields reached with a bunt-single against reliever Cam Bedrosian. Cesar Ramos replaced Bedrosian with two on and no outs to face Choo, who walked to load the bases. Fielder walked to push across a run to make it 4-2. With the bases loaded, Beltre hit a hard shot to third baseman David Freese, who fell down on the stop but had no time to make a throw. That scored another run to make it 5-2. Choo scored Moreland’s sac fly to give Texas a 6-2 lead. Hamilton’s single to center made it 7-2. Elvis Andrus’ two-run double down the left-field line made it 9-2.
Notable: The Rangers are the second A.L. team to win its division with a losing record within that division. The Tampa Bay Rays had a losing record against the A.L. East in 2008.
Stefan Stevenson, 8170-390-7760