ANAHEIM, Calif. – Bobby Abreu
homered, fill-in starter Sean O'Sullivan earned his first win in two
months and the Los Angeles Angels eliminated the Texas Rangers from
playoff contention with a 5-2 victory Tuesday night.
Texas' third straight loss clinched
the AL wild card for the Boston Red Sox, who will meet the Angels in
the first round for the third consecutive postseason.
One day after the Angels clinched
their third straight AL West title with an 11-0 victory over the
second-place Rangers (85-72), Los Angeles took it easy, resting
two-thirds of its usual starting lineup.
Yet pinch-hitter Mike Napoli had a
two-run single as the Angels improbably battered Texas ace Scott
Feldman (17-7), who has lost three of his last four starts in a blow to
his Cy Young Award hopes. Feldman yielded seven hits and three walks
while failing to get out of the fourth inning.
Brian Fuentes worked the ninth for
his major league-leading 46th save, a career high and a new AL record
for the most saves by a pitcher in his first season with a team. Joe
Borowski had 45 for Cleveland in 2007.
O'Sullivan (4-2) allowed three hits
over five easy innings as a late replacement for Scott Kazmir, who was
pulled from his start about two hours before the game. Los Angeles
manager Mike Scioscia also said Jered Weaver and John Lackey won't make
their scheduled starts in this series to give all three pitchers a
little extra rest for the Red Sox.
Boston has won all four of its
playoff series against the Angels, including first-round victories in
2004, 2007 and 2008. Add the 1986 AL championship series, and Boston
has won 12 of its past 13 postseason games against the Angels.
Scioscia also scratched Juan Rivera,
Torii Hunter, Kendry Morales, Erick Aybar, Maicer Izturis and Napoli
from his regular lineup Tuesday. Leadoff hitter Chone Figgins, Abreu
and Vladimir Guerrero were the only regular Los Angeles starters in the
lineup, and all three played only half the game.
But Abreu hit his 15th homer in the
first inning, and Jeff Mathis had a run-scoring single in the second.
Napoli's bases-loaded drive chased Feldman in the fourth, and Howie
Kendrick added an RBI double in the seventh.
David Murphy homered and Michael
Young had two hits in his second game back from injury for the Rangers,
whose admirable playoff run finally lost all its steam. Texas stayed in
the race until the final week, but a September swoon doomed its run at
the fourth playoff berth in franchise history.
Texas also lost cleanup hitter
Marlon Byrd in the first inning after he injured his right hip while
attempting to beat out a grounder. Byrd fell flat on his face beyond
first base before limping to the dugout.
Before the game, Texas shut down
outfielder Josh Hamilton for the rest of the season, deciding the
slugger shouldn't push through the pain from a pinched nerve in his
Figgins drew two walks to
give him 101 this season, the most by an Angels hitter since Troy Glaus
had 107 in 2001. … Angels rookie Chris Pettit got his first major
league hit in his first plate appearance in the seventh inning with a
single to left off Pedro Strop. Catcher Bobby Wilson got his first hit
of the season, an eighth-inning double. … Angels SS Brandon Wood
snapped an 0-for-16 skid with a fourth-inning double.