Astros put Rangers celebration on hold
ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers had their third sellout crowd of the season in a festive mood with a chance to clinch the team’s first American League West title since 2011 Friday night at Globe Life Park.
The Los Angeles Angels didn’t cooperate.
Los Angeles snapped a 1-1 tie with a run in the ninth off Texas closer Shawn Tolleson and that was the difference in a 2-1 Angels’ victory.
The loss, coupled with the Houston win over Arizona, kept the magic number for the playoff-bound Rangers at one with two games remaining. It also kept the Angels, who are in a must-win situation, in the hunt for the wild card.
Friday’s setback , which came one night after Texas wrapped up a playoff spot, was put in the past quickly.
"We’ve got two games left and we’re going to continue to play hard," Texas manager Jeff Banister said. "These guys have done a tremendous job of responding to situations like this. I felt like we played well. We had some opportunities with some baserunners, but we were able to only manage the one run."
Like the Angels, the Texas offense didn’t cooperate on a night starter Martin Perez allowed just one run in seven innings in his best outing since Aug. 2. Texas had just three hits, with two of them coming from Shin-Soo Choo.
The Angels got a run off Perez in the first inning, but that was it as he surrendered just one hit over his final six innings of work. The start by Perez was the lone bright spot for the Rangers, and it could give him a much-needed confidence boost if they can clinch the division title over the next two days.
"I was focused the whole game," said Perez, who gave up just four hits and struck out four. "I just threw a pitch up in the first inning, but that’s baseball. I just held the game there. We had some opportunities to score some runs but we didn’t. We’ll come back tomorrow and do it tomorrow."
But they’re going to have to find a better way to hit than they did Friday against veteran soft-tosser Jered Weaver. Weaver came into the game with a 4.76 ERA and just one win since the end of August.
But the Rangers managed to get just one run â that coming on a solo homer from Choo â in Weaver’s six innings of work and had two just hits off him.
"He’s a little bit different than what you see from most guys," said Texas first baseman Mitch Moreland, who went 0 for 4. "He continues to mix it. It’s a little bit below hitting speed kind of. He makes it work. He’s in and out, up and down with every pitch and he kept us off balance tonight. Balls we hit hard they caught."
The Los Angeles bullpen then finished the game with three scoreless innings. Texas needed just two innings from its relievers. After Sam Dyson worked a perfect eighth, Texas went to closer Shawn Tolleson for a fourth-straight game in the ninth.
Los Angeles centerfielder Mike Trout hit the second pitch he saw from Tolleson to the gap in right center for a triple. Albert Pujols then dumped a soft single to center to push across the game-winning run against Tolleson, who was working the fourth-straight game for the second time this season.
Tolleson said he felt fine, but just made one mistake on a pitch to Trout he wanted to keep down.
"He (Trout) did a good job of staying back and going the other way," Tolleson said. "They asked me how I felt today and I told them I felt really good. And I did. I felt good out there. I felt like I had good stuff out there. Things just didn’t play out."
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