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Anaheim at Texas

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L.A. Angels (92-67)000020000270
Texas (75-84) «30210550x16170

Young, Sosa lead Rangers to sweep of division champion Angels

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- The AL West champion Los Angeles Angels are limping toward the playoffs.

Center fielder Gary Matthews had to leave because of an irritated left knee after a running catch in the first, Vladimir Guerrero was plunked on the forearm by a pitch and the Angels suffered their most lopsided loss of the season -- a 16-2 setback that completed a three-game sweep by last-place Texas.

"Playoffs are an entity by themselves, but you feel so much better about yourself if you get some momentum at the end of the regular season," manager Mike Scioscia said. "We played terrific baseball for a long, long time. There were a few dry spots across the season -- and this series is definitely one of them."

The Rangers had all the fun in their final home series, with Michael Young reaching 200 hits for the fifth consecutive season and Sammy Sosa hitting one of their five home runs in the finale.

Los Angeles clinched the division before getting to Texas, but is still in the race for the American League's top record and home-field advantage through the playoffs.

The Angels, who have three games left in Oakland this weekend, stayed at 92 victories. That is two fewer than Boston, which beat Oakland 11-6 on Wednesday and still has four games left. Cleveland split a doubleheader at Seattle and also has 94 wins.

Now they have questions about Matthews, who irritated the tendinitis in his left knee when he made a running catch to end the first inning.

"It's pretty painful right now. But it feels a hair better," Matthews said. "I'm fairly concerned, but it's still attached to the bone so there's not any structural damage. So it's really irritated and a little swollen. ... I'm hoping I'll be available a week from now."

Guerrero, in the Angels lineup for the first time in the series, initially stayed in the game after being hit by the pitch. But he was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh when Los Angeles trailed 11-2.

"Vlad's OK, just a little bruise on the lower forearm," Scioscia said.

Guerrero has been limited to designated hitter his past 15 starts since Sept. 4 because of an inflamed right triceps that make throws from the outfield difficult.

Nelson Cruz, Gerald Laird, Travis Metcalf and Hank Blalock also homered for the Rangers. Blalock's three-run homer came in the seventh inning when he pinch hit for Sosa, right after Young joined Wade Boggs and Ichiro Suzuki as the only players since 1940 with five consecutive 200-hit seasons.

Young's 200th hit was his second RBI single of the game.

Boggs and Suzuki both had seven consecutive 200-hit seasons, including this year for Suzuki. Young, the All-Star shortstop, matched Hall of Fame second baseman Charlie Gehringer (1933-37) for the most consecutive 200-hit seasons by a middle infielder.

"I'm definitely humbled by it. I recognize the company I'm with and it means a lot," Young said.

Sosa hit a two-run homer in the first off Joe Saunders (8-5) that made it 3-0. The 412-foot shot to right-center, in what might have been his last home game for the Rangers, was Sosa's 21st this season -- and No. 609 in his career. He also leads the team with 92 RBI, even though he has started only 18 of the past 53 games.

"I'm so proud because so many people doubted me at the beginning," Sosa said. "Now I've convinced them that I'm still here, I still can play, I can still do the job."

When Sosa returned to the Rangers after a year out of baseball, the 38-year-old slugger only signed a one-year deal. He received a $600,000 base salary and earned another $1.35 million in performance bonuses, reaching the last possible one when he had his 450th plate appearance Wednesday.

Sosa plans to play another season, but it isn't clear yet if he'll have a chance to do that in Texas.

Luis Mendoza allowed two runs over 4 2/3 innings in his third start this month for Texas, having never pitched above the Double-A level before then.

The last batter Mendoza faced was Guerrero, and Mendoza hit him to load the bases after Erick Aybar and Maicier Izturis both had sacrifice flies to get the Angels within 6-2. Reliever John Rheinecker (4-3) escaped the jam by striking out Garret Anderson, who also played for the first time in the series.

The Angels also skipped the scheduled start of 17-game winner Kelvim Escobar (inflammation in his shoulder) during the series. Manager Mike Scioscia said before Wednesday's game that Escobar would start Saturday in Oakland.

"We didn't play well. The whole series we didn't do much offensively," Scioscia said. "We didn't get going on the field what we needed to get going. Hopefully, we can get it going this weekend."

Notes

  • Saunders is 1-4 with a 6.69 ERA his past seven starts.
  • The start of the game was delayed 31 minutes by rain.
  • The Rangers turned their team-record 177th double play in the eighth inning, breaking the record set in 1975.
  • The Rangers finished 47-34 at home.
  • The Angels have lost a pair of 12-0 games, to the New York Yankees and Detroit before the All-Star break.
 
Copyright 2014 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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Michael Young's fifth consecutive season with at least 200 hits puts him in an elite group.  (AP)
Michael Young's fifth consecutive season with at least 200 hits puts him in an elite group. (AP)

Players of the Game
Texas

M. Young
AB 5
R 3
H 3
HR 0
RBI 2
Texas

G. Laird
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 2
 
Los Angeles Angels
Chone Figgins, 3B3000101 .336
    Tommy Murphy, LF1000001 .194
Maicer Izturis, 2B3021000 .291
    Brandon Wood, PR-SS1000001 .154
Vladimir Guerrero, DH2000001 .322
   a- Juan Rivera, PH-DH1000001 .250
Garret Anderson, LF4000015 .300
    Terry Evans, RF0000000 .125
Kendry Morales, RF-1B3010010 .295
Casey Kotchman, 1B1110200 .298
    Robb Quinlan, 3B1000001 .241
Gary Matthews Jr., CF0000000 .252
   b- Nathan Haynes, PH-CF1110100 .275
   c- Reggie Willits, PH-CF2000000 .296
Mike Napoli, C3000034 .243
Erick Aybar, SS-2B3021002 .242
Totals2927245  
a-popped out for Guerrero in the 7th
b-singled for Matthews in the 4th
c-grounded out for Haynes in the 6th
Batting
2B - Maicer Izturis (17, Feldman)
SF - Maicer Izturis (4), Erick Aybar (2)
RBI - Maicer Izturis (51), Erick Aybar (18)
CS - Casey Kotchman (4, 3rd base by Mendoza/Laird)
PK - Erick Aybar (2, Mendoza)
Team LOB - 9
Fielding
DP - Figgins-Izturis-Kotchman
Los Angeles Angels
Joe Saunders (L,8-5) 5977363 4.44
Rich Thompson 0.2444121 10.80
Marcus Gwyn 1.1455221 11.81
Justin Speier 1000010 2.98
Pitches-Strikes - Joe Saunders 103-62, Rich Thompson 34-18, Marcus Gwyn 34-19, Justin Speier 11-8
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Saunders 3-5, Justin Speier 1-1
Batters Faced - Joe Saunders 26, Rich Thompson 7, Marcus Gwyn 10, Justin Speier 3
Texas Rangers
Ian Kinsler, 2B5210101 .267
Gerald Laird, C3222111 .226
    Guillermo Quiroz, C0000000 .429
Michael Young, SS5332012 .314
    Ramon Vazquez, SS0000000 .233
Sammy Sosa, DH3212122 .252
   a- Hank Blalock, PH-DH1113000 .299
Marlon Byrd, CF4112021 .310
   b- Freddy Guzman, PH-CF1000010 .500
Jason Botts, LF4031111 .244
Nelson Cruz, RF5112024 .237
Brad Wilkerson, 1B4220100 .236
Travis Metcalf, 3B4222111 .242
Totals39161716611  
a-homered for Sosa in the 7th
b-struck out for Byrd in the 7th
Batting
2B - Gerald Laird (18, Saunders)
3B - Marlon Byrd (8, Thompson)
HR - Gerald Laird (9, Saunders), Sammy Sosa (21, Saunders), Hank Blalock (10, Gwyn), Nelson Cruz (9, Saunders), Travis Metcalf (4, Thompson)
SF - Gerald Laird (4)
RBI - Gerald Laird 2 (47), Michael Young 2 (92), Sammy Sosa 2 (92), Hank Blalock 3 (33), Marlon Byrd 2 (70), Jason Botts (14), Nelson Cruz 2 (33), Travis Metcalf 2 (19)
2-OUT RBI - Gerald Laird (18), Marlon Byrd 2 (28), Jason Botts (4), Nelson Cruz 2 (10)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Laird-Metcalf, Metcalf-Kinsler-Wilkerson
Texas Rangers
Luis Mendoza 4.2422320 2.57
John Rheinecker (W,4-3) 0.2100110 5.44
Frank Francisco (H,20) 0.2000010 4.58
Scott Feldman 1100000 5.92
Bill White 2100010 4.82
HBP - Napoli (by Luis Mendoza), Guerrero (by Luis Mendoza), Morales (by Bill White)
Pitches-Strikes - Luis Mendoza 70-40, John Rheinecker 11-6, Frank Francisco 10-5, Scott Feldman 14-10, Bill White 32-21
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Luis Mendoza 3-7, John Rheinecker 1-0, Bill White 3-1
Batters Faced - Luis Mendoza 21, John Rheinecker 4, Frank Francisco 2, Scott Feldman 4, Bill White 7
Game Information
Attendance - 24223
Game Time - 3:15
Temperature - 89
Umpires - Home - Jim Wolf, First Base - Tim Tschida, Second Base - Jim Joyce, Third Base - Jeff Nelson