The Los Angeles Angels clinched the AL West title Wednesday night, getting seven dominant innings of one-hit ball from C.J. Wilson in a 5-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
C.J. Cron hit a three-run homer for the major league-leading Angels (95-57), who wrapped up their first division crown since 2009 when Oakland lost to Texas about an hour after Los Angeles’ game ended.
The Angels had already secured a playoff spot Monday. They have won 12 of 14.
Howie Kendrick sparked the Angels’ five-run rally in the seventh by scoring from first base when Chris Denorfia misplayed David Freese’s single to right for an error.
Los Angeles’ surge broke up a pitchers’ duel between Wilson and Seattle rookie James Paxton, who traded zeros until the seventh.
Wilson (13-9) earned his third straight victory in intimidating fashion, striking out seven and allowing just four baserunners in a major improvement from recent starts. He escaped his only jam in the seventh, stranding two runners.
Paxton (6-3) yielded four hits and had eight strikeouts for the Mariners, who have lost six of eight. Seattle managed just one hit and is two games behind Kansas City and Oakland for the second AL wild card.
Paxton kept the Mariners in contention until his teammates made two errors and reliever Danny Farquhar flopped in the seventh inning.
After Kendrick’s one-out single, Denorfia thought about diving to catch Freese’s drive, but instead pulled up and allowed it to roll past him to the right-field wall. Austin Jackson then double-clutched the ball while retrieving it, and Kendrick scored easily.
Farquhar relieved Paxton with two outs and two runners on, but Cron mashed his 11th homer into the fake rock pile behind center field. Kole Calhoun followed with an RBI double as the Angels batted around.
Paxton was even more dominant than Wilson, retiring 17 of the Angels’ first 18 hitters. Paxton allowed only two bouncing singles in the first six innings while striking out Mike Trout three times.
Trout also struck out to end the seventh, tying Baltimore’s Chris Davis for the AL lead with 173 strikeouts.
Mariners: LHP Roenis Elias headed back to Seattle for an MRI after feeling stiffness in his elbow. Manager Lloyd McClendon said Elias is probably done for the season.
Angels: Josh Hamilton was out of the starting lineup after feeling a bit sore following his return from a shoulder injury Tuesday. The cleanup hitter likely wouldn’t have started anyway against a tough left-hander.
Two aces meet in the series finale when Seattle RHP Felix Hernandez (14-5, 2.14 ERA) takes on Jered Weaver (17-8, 3.50).