Albert Pujols/Photo courtesy of Los Angeles Angels
The Angels needed two things to happen Sunday in order to force a one-game playoff Monday at Houston to determine the second wild-card team for the postseason.
The Angels had to win at Texas and have Houston lose at Arizona. Houston lost 5-3, but the Angels also lost, 9-2, after leading 2-1 after the first inning. That meant Houston won the second wild-card spot.
The Rangers, who clinched the AL West with their victory, scored twice in the fifth and six times in the seventh to blow open what would be the final game of the season for the Angels.
The Angels got a double by Mike Trout and 2-run home run by Albert Pujols off Rangers starter Cole Hamels in the first inning. But Hamels allowed only one more hit – a double by Shane Victorino in the second – while pitching a complete game.
The Angels finished 85-77 and won nine of their last 12 games to put themselves in position to get into the playoffs.
“I was inspired by these guys,” manager Mike Scioscia said during a post-game television interview on Fox Sports West.
I was inspired by these guys.