Angels fail to clinch, will try again Thursday

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- The Anaheim Angels missed another chance to get into the postseason on their own. And they didn't get any help later Wednesday night.

After the Angels lost their fourth straight game, 4-3 at Texas,
they still had a chance to clinch their first playoff berth since

But Seattle had its second straight come-from-behind win, 3-2
over AL West-leading Oakland to put Anaheim's celebration off
another day.

"We're still in the driver's seat,'' said Angels manager Mike Scioscia.

The Angels get their fifth chance Thursday to clinch the playoff spot with a win. They wrap up their series at Texas before going home to close the regular season with three games against the Mariners.

Anaheim has lost seven of nine games, its worst such stretch since April.

"Our record shows we're a good club,'' said Scioscia, whose team already has a team-record 96 wins. "This is a little bump in the road. It is just that. We're going to be OK.''

Rafael Palmeiro led off the Texas eighth with a tiebreaking
homer and the Rangers added another run on a bases-loaded walk.

Anaheim remained three games behind Oakland with four games left, and was four games ahead of Seattle in the wild-card chase. Boston was eliminated from the playoff race after a 7-2 loss at Chicago.

The plastic sheeting had been completely removed from the
Anaheim clubhouse and there was no sign of any champagne. Players
were leaving quickly, with the Oakland-Seattle game unavailable on
the television there.

Palmeiro's 43rd homer came against Scott Schoeneweis (9-8) and
made it 3-2. Schoeneweis had just entered the game and didn't face
another batter.

"I was just trying to get on base, get something started,''
said Palmeiro, who has 490 career homers.

Rookie Hank Blalock and Alex Rodriguez hit consecutive homers
off Ramon Ortiz to put Texas ahead 2-0 in the third. A-Rod leads
the majors with 57 homers and 140 RBIs.

It was the 16th time this season that Palmeiro and Rodriguez
have homered in the same game, a major league record. Barry Bonds
and Rich Aurilia did it 15 times for the San Francisco Giants last

Rodriguez and Palmeiro also became only the fifth set of
teammates to combine for 100 homers. Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle
of the New York Yankees have the most combined homers, 115 in 1961.

Rudy Seanez (1-3) pitched the eighth for the win. Francisco
Cordero worked the ninth for his 10th save, giving up Brad
Fullmer's RBI single that ended his stretch of 20 scoreless innings
over 20 appearances.

After Palmeiro's homer, Ivan Rodriguez doubled down the left-field line against Ben Weber. After a sacrifice bunt by Todd Hollandsworth, reliever Francisco Rodriguez issued an intentional walk, hit a batter and then gave up a bases-loaded walk to Michael Young.

The consecutive 420-foot homers by Blalock and Rodriguez were
the only runs the Rangers managed in six innings against Ortiz,
whose 40 homers allowed match Shawn Boskie's 1996 record for the
most given up by an Angels pitcher.

Anaheim didn't catch up until Troy Glaus led off the seventh
with his 29th homer. The Angels got two more runners in the inning,
but both were left stranded after a nifty defensive play that
Scioscia challenged.

Second baseman Young made a backhanded stab to snag Darin
Erstad's short-hop grounder. Palmeiro had to jump up to catch the
high throw, but television replays showed the first baseman came
down on the bag a step before Erstad got there.

Benji Gil's RBI double into the right-field corner with two outs
in the fifth got Anaheim within 2-1. Scott Spiezio, who reached on
a fielder's choice, scored but Bengie Molina had to stop at third.

Texas starter Kenny Rogers retired the first eight batters he
faced, and 12-of-13 until the fifth. He went seven innings,
allowing two runs on six hits with four strikeouts.

"Kenny pitched really well, and he pitched to get out of the
seventh,'' said Rangers manager Jerry Narron. "I hope it wasn't
his last game.''

Rogers, who is 37, is eligible for free agency at the end of the season. The left-hander has 1-2 his last nine starts, but his 3.84 ERA is the lowest qualifying ERA for a Texas pitcher since Ken Hill's 3.63 six years ago.
Game notes
Texas has hit consecutive homers 12 times this season. ... Rogers hasn't allowed a stolen base this season. Only two other pitchers who qualified for the ERA title have done that since 1989 -- the Yankees' Terry Mulholland in 1994 and Florida's Chris Hammond a year later. ... Ortiz had won five straight starts and is 6-0 his
last nine starts. ... While 34 of the 40 homers allowed by Ortiz
have been solo shots, 52 of the 97 runs scored against the
right-hander have been on homers. ... The intentional walk issued
by Francisco Rodriguez ended his stretch of striking out eight
straight batters faced.