After blowing a big lead in the top of the ninth yesterday, the Rangers left no doubt today. After scoring six runs in the seventh up 3-2, they would not give the Angels even the slightest chance to come back. Jeff Banister rode his leading man all the way and Cole Hamels pitched a complete game, allowing just two runs on one swing, a two run homer by Albert Pujols in the first. The Angels only got three hits on the day as the Rangers rolled 9-2. Hamels got the win while Garrett Richards, who had come back on short rest, took the loss.
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It didn’t take long for the Rangers to answer the two run bomb from Pujols. Prince Fielder hit an RBI single in the bottom of the first to make it 2-1 Angels. Neither team scored again until the fifth when Adrian Beltre launched a two run blast to bring in Shin-Soo Choo and put the Rangers up 3-2. The Rangers loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the seventh just like they did in the bottom of the fifth yesterday, but this time they got much more out of it. Prince Fielder walked to bring in the first run, then Beltre reached on an infield single to bring in another run, Mitch Moreland followed with a sac fly to bring in another one and make it 6-2. Josh Hamilton got in on the action with a single to bring in pinch runner Ryan Stausborger, who was running for Fielder. Elvis Andrus brought in the last two runs on an RBI double deep into the outfield to make it 9-2. From there Hamels did the rest, needing just 108 pitches to win the game.
This win not only gave the Rangers the division title, but eliminated the Angels from the playoffs and sealed up a spot in the wild card game for the Astros, who will take on the Yankees with the winner of that game facing the Royals in the ALDS. Texas will see the Blue Jays in the ALDS. Game one will be on Thursday in Toronto with the time still to be announced. Game two will be Friday before an off-day Saturday. The series will shift to Arlington for game three on Sunday and game four if necessary on Monday. Should the series need a winner take all game five, it will be in Toronto on Wednesday. It is still to be determined who starts game one, but I would guess either Yovani Gallardo or Derek Holland will get the nod.