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Texas at Anaheim

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Texas (84-67) «001000000001250
L.A. Angels (75-77)000000100000181

Rangers outlast Angels, reduce magic number to four

CBSSports.com wire reports
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Crazy plays just seem to find Jeff Francoeur ever since he joined the Texas Rangers. He can't complain as long as he keeps his new club cruising down its path to the playoffs.

Francoeur doubled to lead off the 12th inning and eventually scored on Jeff Mathis' passed ball, and the Rangers trimmed their magic number for clinching the AL West to four with a 2-1 victory against the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night.

Postseason Chase

The Rangers snapped a three-game skid with two unearned runs, finally rallying to win after eight scoreless innings -- including 16 consecutive outs heading into the 12th.

After Francoeur alertly capitalized on Mathis' mistake on an easily catchable pitch, Texas avoided a series sweep and extended its division lead on Oakland to eight games heading into a four-game series at the Coliseum.

"It's a strange way to win, because you're expecting a curveball to get away, not a fastball," said Francoeur, who won a game against the Yankees 11 days earlier when closer Mariano Rivera hit him with a pitch with the bases loaded. "I didn't hesitate, though. It was a good opportunity."

Neftali Feliz tied the rookie record set by Seattle's Kazuhiro Sasaki in 2000 with his 37th save for Texas, which can clinch its first AL West title since 1999 with two victories against the Athletics. The magic number already dropped earlier Wednesday with Oakland's 4-3 loss to the White Sox.

"You can kind of taste it now," Francoeur said. "It would be nice to get the first two and wrap it up. We know if we can get two wins out of four, we can spend the last week getting ourselves prepared and ready for the playoffs."

Long after starters C.J. Wilson and Dan Haren finished their duel through seven tight innings, Francoeur's hit led off the 12th against Matt Palmer (1-2). Chris Davis drew a walk and Bengie Molina's bunt advanced both runners, but pinch-hitter Mitch Moreland struck out.

Mathis then flubbed a chest-high pitch to Julio Borbon, allowing Francoeur to score with a slide.

"I just missed it, to be honest," Mathis said. "Wasn't no cross-up, nothing. It was a little cutter, and I just misjudged where it was. To come back like that and tie the game up with the homer, scrapping and clawing like that, to miss a ball like that is tough."

Mike Napoli tied it with a seventh-inning home run for the Angels, who lost for only the fourth time in 13 games. Los Angeles' six-game home winning streak also ended with six games left in its final homestand of the season.

Matt Harrison (3-1) pitched the 11th for Texas before Feliz ended the 3-hour, 36-minute game by retiring pinch-hitters Bobby Abreu and Hideki Matsui. The Rangers' bullpen allowed five hits over six scoreless innings.

"We caught a break, but I can't say enough about our bullpen keeping us in position for it," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "C.J. kept us in the ballgame, and this is the type of game that breaks you out of slumps."

Wilson didn't allow an Angels runner to reach second base until Napoli led off the seventh with his 26th home run. The left-hander from Orange County limited the Angels to three hits and three walks in six innings, but remained winless in four September starts.

Napoli's home run was only the ninth allowed by Wilson in 194 innings -- the fifth-lowest ratio in the majors and second-lowest in the AL to Minnesota's Francisco Liriano.

Haren also got a no-decision despite holding the Rangers to three hits and one unearned run over seven innings, dropping his ERA over his past six starts to 1.32. The three-time All-Star has received more than three runs of support only three times in his 12 starts since arriving in a trade with Arizona.

Texas scored without a hit in the third inning when Borbon drew a one-out walk, advanced two bases on third baseman Kevin Frandsen's throwing error and scored on Michael Young's sacrifice fly.

Reggie Willits and Howie Kendrick hit back-to-back singles off Rangers reliever Alexi Ogando in the eighth, but Torii Hunter grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Notes

  • Willits' single ended an 0-for-17 skid.
  • Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton did light exercise Wednesday after getting two injections near his two broken ribs a day earlier. The AL leader in batting average (.361) hopes to return for the final three games of the regular season. He hasn't played since Sept. 4.
  • 1B Moreland is in a 4-for-24 slump, and Washington suggested Davis could have a chance to regain his job as the Rangers' starting first baseman before the playoffs.
  • The Angels surpassed 3 million fans for the eighth consecutive season, extending the franchise record. The Yankees are the only other AL team to draw at least 3 million fans every year since 2003.
 
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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Jeff Francoeur, whose double off Matt Palmer (32) leads off the 12th inning, scores the winning run on a passed ball.  (AP)
Jeff Francoeur, whose double off Matt Palmer (32) leads off the 12th inning, scores the winning run on a passed ball. (AP)

Players of the Game
Anaheim

M. Napoli
AB 5
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
Texas

M. Young
AB 4
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Texas Rangers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Ian Kinsler, 2B6000013 .291
Michael Young, 3B4011000 .284
David Murphy, LF5010001 .290
Vladimir Guerrero, DH5000001 .302
Jeff Francoeur, RF5110022 .243
Chris Davis, 1B3010210 .204
Matt Treanor, C3000004 .216
   a- Nelson Cruz, PH1000010 .312
    Bengie Molina, C0000000 .236
Andres Blanco, SS4000010 .276
   b- Mitch Moreland, PH1000012 .242
    Elvis Andrus, SS0000000 .268
Julio Borbon, CF3110200 .275
Totals4025147  
a-struck out for Treanor in the 9th
b-struck out for Blanco in the 12th
Batting
2B - Jeff Francoeur (17, Palmer), Chris Davis (9, Haren)
SF - Michael Young (9)
SH - Bengie Molina (4)
RBI - Michael Young (86)
SB - David Murphy (14, 2nd base off Haren/Mathis)
Team LOB - 8
Fielding
DP - Young-Kinsler-Davis, Blanco-Kinsler-Davis, Blanco-Kinsler-Davis
Texas Rangers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
C.J. Wilson 6311351 3.15
Alexi Ogando 2200010 1.16
Dustin Nippert 1100000 4.47
Darren Oliver 1100000 2.40
Matt Harrison (W,3-1) 1100000 4.20
Neftali Feliz (S,37) 1000000 2.95
Pitches-Strikes - C.J. Wilson 99-59, Alexi Ogando 24-17, Dustin Nippert 18-13, Darren Oliver 12-8, Matt Harrison 9-6, Neftali Feliz 9-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - C.J. Wilson 8-4, Alexi Ogando 3-1, Darren Oliver 2-1, Matt Harrison 2-0, Neftali Feliz 1-2
Batters Faced - C.J. Wilson 23, Alexi Ogando 7, Dustin Nippert 4, Darren Oliver 4, Matt Harrison 3, Neftali Feliz 3
Los Angeles Angels
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Reggie Willits, LF5020020 .265
Howard Kendrick, 2B5020001 .276
Torii Hunter, DH4000112 .282
Mike Napoli, 1B5121002 .247
Juan Rivera, RF3020201 .252
Kevin Frandsen, 3B4000013 .258
Jeff Mathis, C4000013 .189
   a- Bobby Abreu, PH1000000 .256
Brandon Wood, SS4000012 .154
   b- Hideki Matsui, PH1000000 .272
Peter Bourjos, CF4000000 .194
Totals4018136  
a-flied out for Mathis in the 12th
b-grounded out for Wood in the 12th
Batting
HR - Mike Napoli (26, Wilson)
SH - Kevin Frandsen (3)
RBI - Mike Napoli (67)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
PB - Jeff Mathis (6)
E - Kevin Frandsen (7, Throwing)
Los Angeles Angels
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Dan Haren 7310320 3.96
Jordan Walden 1000000 1.59
Fernando Rodney 1000020 4.08
Kevin Jepsen 1000020 4.36
Michael Kohn 1000000 2.45
Matt Palmer (L,1-2) 1210110 4.83
IBB - Davis by Dan Haren
Pitches-Strikes - Dan Haren 114-70, Jordan Walden 12-7, Fernando Rodney 11-7, Kevin Jepsen 12-8, Michael Kohn 9-6, Matt Palmer 17-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dan Haren 13-7, Jordan Walden 2-1, Fernando Rodney 1-0, Kevin Jepsen 1-0, Michael Kohn 3-0, Matt Palmer 2-0
Batters Faced - Dan Haren 28, Jordan Walden 3, Fernando Rodney 3, Kevin Jepsen 3, Michael Kohn 3, Matt Palmer 6
Game Information
Attendance - 41222
Game Time - 3:36
Temperature - 66
Umpires - Home - Mike DiMuro, First Base - Tim Welke, Second Base - Jim Reynolds, Third Base - Bill Welke