Anaheim at Texas

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L.A. Angels (95-59) «002001202791
Texas (75-80)0011010003101

K-Rod notches 60th save of season as Angels look for home field

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Los Angeles has nearly reached all the goals it set out for in the regular season.

Now Angels record-setting closer Francisco Rodriguez has his eyes set on a bigger prize.

"This could be the year that we win the championship," said Rodriguez, who burst on the scene when the Angels won the World Series title in 2002. "We have tremendous chemistry here. We're peaking in every department."

Rodriguez earned his 60th save and Garret Anderson homered and drove in three runs to help the Los Angeles Angels beat the Texas Rangers 7-3 Saturday night.

The Angels (95-59) assured themselves of at homefield advantage in at least the first round of the playoffs with the win.

Los Angeles, which also has the best record in baseball, has a 2½ game lead over AL East leader Tampa Bay in the race for the league's best mark and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The Angels have a 20½ game lead over the second-place Rangers, who have lost three in a row. Los Angeles can become the first AL team since Cleveland in 1999 to win a division by 20 games over their closest pursuer.

"It certainly has importance," Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said of gaining homefield. "We have an opportunity to accomplish everything in the regular season that can be accomplished and that's important to us."

Rodriguez entered the game with two out and two on in the ninth to extend his MLB save record, which he set last Saturday against Seattle.

Scioscia said Friday he was going to give Rodriguez the next two games off. Scot Shields closed out Friday's win, but Rodriguez retired Nelson Cruz to preserve the lead in his 67th save opportunity.

Rodriguez has 18 more saves than Houston's Jose Valverde, who leads the National League.

"I feel so happy and so proud the way things have been going," Rodriguez said. "Saving 60 games is good, but I've got to keep going."

Anderson, who homered in the third, had an RBI single in the seventh when the American League West champs scored twice to take lead for good.

Justin Speier (2-8) struck out four in 1 2/3 innings of relief and got out of a key jam in the sixth to keep the game tied at 3.

Sean Rodriguez singled leading off the seventh and advanced to second on a wild pitch by Texas starter Vicente Padilla (13-8). After Erick Aybar singled, Rodriguez scored on an another wild pitch to put Los Angeles ahead. Anderson, who was 3-for-4, singled to right to score Aybar.

The Angels added two runs in the ninth for the 7-3 lead.

Padilla yielded five runs and seven hits in six innings. The right-hander struck out five and walked three.

The Rangers, who have the worst ERA in baseball, are now 12-28 against the four teams who right now occupy the four playoff spots. Texas is 5-10 against the Angels.

Texas outfielder Marlon Byrd said it is obvious what the difference between the Rangers and Angels is.

"Pitching," Byrd said. "We can out hit them all day long."

Angels spot starter Dustin Moseley allowed three runs and eight hits in five innings. Moseley took the mound in place of Ervin Santana, who is getting extra rest with the playoffs approaching.

Hank Blalock, who was 4-for-4, tied the game at 3 with an RBI single in the sixth. After Moseley walked Nelson Cruz, Speier came into the game.

With runners on second and third, Speier ended Texas' threat by striking out Chris Davis and Ramon Vazquez.

Angels slugger Vladimir Guerrero returned to the lineup for the first time since leaving a game on Sept. 12 with right knee irritation. Guerrero, who jogged off the field when removed from the game, led off the sixth with a double and was removed for pinch-runner Kendry Morales.

"We wanted to work him back in the lineup," Scioscia said. "He'll play five innings (Sunday) and most likely DH."

Anderson hit a two-run homer, his 15th, that gave the Angels a 2-0 lead in the third.

Notes

  • Rangers SS Michael Young was given a day off to rest an ailing right finger. Young had left the past two games early after irritating a fractured right ring finger. German Duran filled in for Young, who said he expects to be back in the lineup Sunday.
  • Angels CF Torii Hunter was 0-for-3 and is hitting .373 (19-for-51) against the Rangers this season.
  • Rangers manager Ron Washington and Vazquez were ejected in the seventh.
  • During a pitching change in the ninth, three security guards chased and caught a fan who made it on the field. The fan was casually talking to the three Texas outfielders when security ran out to apprehend him.
 
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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For the 60th time this season, Francisco Rodriguez closes out an Angels' victory.  (AP)
For the 60th time this season, Francisco Rodriguez closes out an Angels' victory. (AP)

Players of the Game
Anaheim

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

H. Blalock
AB 4
R 1
H 4
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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Los Angeles Angels
Erick Aybar, SS4320000 .283
Garret Anderson, DH4233100 .296
Mark Teixeira, 1B4000114 .304
Vladimir Guerrero, RF2010110 .299
    Kendry Morales, PR-RF2111001 .271
    Reggie Willits, LF0000000 .172
Torii Hunter, CF3000223 .282
Gary Matthews Jr., LF-RF4001103 .239
Brandon Wood, 3B5021003 .207
Jeff Mathis, C5000015 .188
Sean Rodriguez, 2B3100120 .190
Totals3679677  
Batting
2B - Erick Aybar (16, Rupe), Vladimir Guerrero (30, Padilla), Kendry Morales (2, White)
HR - Garret Anderson (15, Padilla)
RBI - Garret Anderson 3 (83), Kendry Morales (6), Gary Matthews Jr. (42), Brandon Wood (13)
2-OUT RBI - Brandon Wood (5)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
E - Jeff Mathis (13, Throwing)
Los Angeles Angels
Dustin Moseley 5833130 7.15
Justin Speier (W,2-8) 1.2100240 5.18
Kevin Jepsen (H,3) 0.1000000 1.69
Scot Shields (H,30) 1000110 2.83
Jason Bulger 0.2100110 7.50
Francisco Rodriguez (S,60) 0.1000000 2.34
IBB - Blalock by Justin Speier
HBP - Laird (by Dustin Moseley)
Pitches-Strikes - Dustin Moseley 72-48, Justin Speier 28-17, Kevin Jepsen 2-1, Scot Shields 19-12, Jason Bulger 15-8, Francisco Rodriguez 4-2
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dustin Moseley 11-1, Justin Speier 1-0, Scot Shields 1-1
Batters Faced - Dustin Moseley 25, Justin Speier 8, Kevin Jepsen 1, Scot Shields 4, Jason Bulger 4, Francisco Rodriguez 1
Texas Rangers
Joaquin Arias, 2B3001002 .274
   a- Ramon Vazquez, PH-2B1000012 .295
    Travis Metcalf, SS0000100 .229
German Duran, SS-2B5010011 .224
Josh Hamilton, CF3010220 .308
Milton Bradley, DH5000014 .316
Marlon Byrd, LF5120011 .299
Hank Blalock, 1B4141100 .271
Nelson Cruz, RF4000107 .329
Gerald Laird, C2110000 .282
Chris Davis, 3B4011033 .280
Totals36310359  
a-struck out for Arias in the 6th
Batting
2B - Marlon Byrd 2 (27, Moseley, Speier), Hank Blalock 2 (15, Moseley, Moseley), Gerald Laird (24, Moseley)
SH - Gerald Laird (4)
RBI - Joaquin Arias (6), Hank Blalock (26), Chris Davis (53)
2-OUT RBI - Chris Davis (26)
Team LOB - 13
Fielding
PB - Gerald Laird (6)
E - Vicente Padilla (3, Missed catch of throw)
Texas Rangers
Vicente Padilla (L,13-8) 6755351 4.85
Josh Rupe 2122220 4.88
Bill White 0.1100200 27.00
Luis Mendoza 0.2000000 8.66
IBB - Hunter by Josh Rupe, by G. Anderson, Hunter by Bill White
HBP - Aybar (by Vicente Padilla)
WP - Vicente Padilla 2 (12)
Pitches-Strikes - Vicente Padilla 106-71, Josh Rupe 25-17, Bill White 18-7, Luis Mendoza 6-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Vicente Padilla 10-3, Josh Rupe 4-0
Batters Faced - Vicente Padilla 29, Josh Rupe 9, Bill White 4, Luis Mendoza 2
Game Information
Attendance - 38973
Game Time - 3:15
Temperature - 81
Umpires - Home - Tom Hallion, First Base - Brian O'Nora, Second Base - Paul Nauert, Third Base - Jerry Crawford