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Angels continue push for home-field advantage

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia isn't overly concerned about getting home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Still, the Angels, who won the World Series in 2002 despite not having the home-field edge in the first two rounds, preserved the chances for this year with a 7-6 win Saturday night against the Texas Rangers.

"Home field is significant" Scioscia said. "But it's not the end all. There's no magic formula that says you have to have home field."

The Angels (94-67) received homers from Garret Anderson, Orlando Cabrera and Juan Rivera to stay a game behind AL East champion New York (95-66) for the league's second-best record.

If Los Angeles wins Sunday and the Yankees lose at Boston, the Angles would have the home-field advantage over New York in the first round because they won the season series 6-4.

In addition to the three home runs Saturday, the Angels received some clutch relief pitching late as they almost blew a five-run lead.

Scot Shields (10-11) pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to help Los Angeles win for the 13th time in 15 games.

Francisco Rodriguez then escaped a jam in the ninth to pick up his 44th save in 49 chances. He's converted 17 consecutive chances.

With the loss, Texas (79-82) has posted five losing seasons in the past six years.

Mark Teixeira's RBI triple off Rodriguez in the ninth made it 7-6, but Rodriguez induced Alfonso Soriano to ground out to end the game.

Los Angeles used seven pitchers as starter Jarrod Washburn only lasted two innings.

"We may have given our bullpen a little too much work," Scioscia said. "But (Saturday) was the day needed to pitch and they did a good job."

Los Angeles played without outfielder Vladimir Guerrero, who was given the night off. Scioscia said before the game that the 2004 AL MVP will play Sunday.

Soriano hit a three-run homer in the sixth to bring Texas within 6-4, but he also struck out against Shields with runners on second and third and two outs in the seventh.

Jason Botts led off the seventh with a single and Michael Young walked one out later. After Teixeira struck out, Hank Blalock had an RBI double off Jason Christiansen that cut Los Angeles' lead to 6-5 before Shields fanned Soriano.

Washburn threw two perfect innings before being relieved by Kevin Gregg to start the third. Scioscia said the plan was to limit Washburn, who has been plagued by arm problems this season and went on the disabled list in August with a sore left elbow.

"I got everything accomplished in two innings that I wanted to do," Washburn said. "That's all I needed to do to get ready for the playoffs, in whatever capacity I'll be helping the team."

Anderson, who had three hits, hit a two-run homer in the first to highlight a four-run first off Texas starter Juan Dominguez. Dominguez (4-6) gave up four runs in a career-low two-thirds of an inning.

"Juan came out flat and he didn't have a sense of urgency," Texas manager Buck Showalter said. "It's a tough way for him to end the season."

Cabrera homered leading off the fifth and Rivera added a solo shot in the eighth.

After Anderson's homer, Casey Kotchman added an RBI single to make it 4-0.

The Angels then loaded the bases off Dominguez. Texas manager Buck Showalter went to the bullpen and replaced Dominguez with Erasmo Ramirez.

"I was surprised when he took me out," Dominguez said through a translator. "I felt like I was getting a better feel of what was going on."

After Cabrera led off the fourth with a home run, Darin Erstad had an RBI single to give Los Angeles a 6-1 cushion.

Notes

  • Figgins set an Angels record for hits by a switch-hitter with 185. Johnny Ray had the previous mark with 184 in 1988.
  • Texas' Michael Young, who leads the AL in batting average, went hitless for a second consecutive game after hitting in 25 games in a row.
 
Copyright 2015 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Garret Anderson watches his first-inning, two-run homer, one of his three hits in the victory.  (AP)
Garret Anderson watches his first-inning, two-run homer, one of his three hits in the victory. (AP)

Players of the Game
Anaheim

G. Anderson
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 1
RBI 2
Texas

A. Soriano
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 3
 

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Los Angeles Angels
Chone Figgins, 3B-2B4120105 .290
Orlando Cabrera, SS5221023 .259
    Maicer Izturis, SS0000000 .249
Garret Anderson, LF4232010 .282
    Jeff DaVanon, LF1000000 .230
Juan Rivera, RF5121012 .272
Darin Erstad, DH5121002 .273
Bengie Molina, C3000102 .295
    Jose Molina, C1000000 .228
Casey Kotchman, 1B4011101 .270
Steve Finley, CF5020012 .222
Adam Kennedy, 2B3010000 .300
   a- Robb Quinlan, PH-3B2000000 .231
Totals4271563517 
a-grounded out for Kennedy in the 7th
Batting
2B - Garret Anderson (34, Brocail), Darin Erstad (33, Dominguez)
3B - Chone Figgins (10, Brocail)
HR - Orlando Cabrera (8, Brocail), Garret Anderson (17, Dominguez), Juan Rivera (14, Wasdin)
RBI - Orlando Cabrera (56), Garret Anderson 2 (95), Juan Rivera (56), Darin Erstad (66), Casey Kotchman (22)
SB - Chone Figgins (60, 2nd base off Dominguez/Barajas)
CS - Steve Finley (4, 2nd base by Shouse/Barajas)
Team LOB - 11
Fielding
DP - Cabrera-Kennedy-Kotchman
E - Orlando Cabrera (7, misplayed grounder)
Los Angeles Angels
Jarrod Washburn 2000010 3.20
Kevin Gregg 2311020 5.04
Esteban Yan 2333241 4.59
Brendan Donnelly (H,15) 0.2111110 3.78
Jason Christiansen0100000 5.12
Scot Shields (H,32; W,10-11) 1.1100020 2.78
Francisco Rodriguez (S,44) 1211000 2.71
Pitches-Strikes - Jarrod Washburn 21-14, Kevin Gregg 36-25, Esteban Yan 40-27, Brendan Donnelly 14-7, Jason Christiansen 4-2, Scot Shields 20-14, Francisco Rodriguez 14-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jarrod Washburn 4-1, Kevin Gregg 3-1, Esteban Yan 1-1, Scot Shields 1-1, Francisco Rodriguez 2-1
Batters Faced - Jarrod Washburn 6, Kevin Gregg 9, Esteban Yan 11, Brendan Donnelly 4, Jason Christiansen 1, Scot Shields 5, Francisco Rodriguez 5
Texas Rangers
Gary Matthews Jr., CF4121101 .255
Michael Young, SS4000104 .330
Mark Teixeira, 1B5121022 .299
Hank Blalock, 3B4111101 .262
Alfonso Soriano, 2B5123023 .268
Kevin Mench, LF4000001 .266
Rod Barajas, C4120010 .256
Mark DeRosa, RF4010021 .243
Jason Botts, DH3110023 .320
   a- David Dellucci, PH-DH1000011 .253
Totals38611631017 
a-struck out for Botts in the 8th
Batting
2B - Mark Teixeira (41, Yan), Hank Blalock (34, Christiansen), Rod Barajas (24, Gregg)
3B - Gary Matthews Jr. (4, Rodriguez), Mark Teixeira (3, Rodriguez)
HR - Alfonso Soriano (36, Yan)
RBI - Gary Matthews Jr. (53), Mark Teixeira (143), Hank Blalock (91), Alfonso Soriano 3 (104)
2-OUT RBI - Hank Blalock (31)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
E - Hank Blalock (11, throwing error), Alfonso Soriano (21, misplayed grounder)
Texas Rangers
Juan Dominguez (L,4-6) 0.2644111 4.22
Erasmo Ramirez 2.1200120 3.91
Doug Brocail 3522021 5.52
C.J. Wilson 1000100 6.94
John Wasdin 1111001 4.28
Brian Shouse 1100000 5.23
Pitches-Strikes - Juan Dominguez 30-16, Erasmo Ramirez 49-34, Doug Brocail 50-39, C.J. Wilson 27-16, John Wasdin 20-13, Brian Shouse 8-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Erasmo Ramirez 4-1, Doug Brocail 3-4, C.J. Wilson 4-0, Brian Shouse 2-0
Batters Faced - Juan Dominguez 9, Erasmo Ramirez 10, Doug Brocail 14, C.J. Wilson 5, John Wasdin 4, Brian Shouse 3
Game Information
Attendance - 48174
Game Time - 3:03
Temperature - 86
Umpires - Home - Brian Gorman, First Base - Mike DiMuro, Second Base - Joe West, Third Base - Mark Carlson