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Vlad homers twice as Angels stay alive in playoff hunt

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- Even with time running out, the Angels
refuse to lose.

Vladimir Guerrero hit two home runs, Chone Figgins added a solo
shot and Los Angeles defeated the Texas Rangers 8-3 on Monday night
for its third straight victory.

"No question our guys aren't going to melt," Angels manager
Mike Scioscia said. "If we can make these games on the weekend
meaningful, I like our club."

The Angels moved within five games of AL West-leading Oakland,
which lost 10-9 in 10 innings to Seattle. Los Angeles staved off
elimination by beating the Athletics twice over the weekend in the
Bay Area.

The Angels have six games remaining, including four at home
against the Athletics starting Thursday.

"We know Oakland is playing good ball and hopefully that game
Thursday will mean a lot," Guerrero said through a translator.
"We're having fun. All we can do is go out and try and win."

Joe Saunders (7-3) gave up two runs and six hits in seven
innings, struck out four and walked none. Scot Shields pitched 1
1/3 innings for his second save.

Saunders, a left-hander, lost to the Rangers 9-3 on Aug. 16.

"I had better command than last time I faced these guys. That
was key," he said. "Every day is the biggest game of the year. I
take it more as a playoff game. We need to finish up strong."

Saunders has allowed three earned runs or less in nine of his 12
starts.

"He changed speeds and worked the changeup, which was probably
his best pitch," said Texas leadoff hitter Gary Matthews Jr., who
went 1-for-4 with a strikeout. "He threw a curveball in there to
try and give you something else to think about."

Juan Rivera paced the Angels' 18-hit attack with a 4-for-5
performance. His four hits tied a career high.

The Angels improved to a season-best 14 games over .500 (85-71),
and they own the best record in the majors (50-27) since July 1.

Guerrero's 32nd homer of the season just cleared the foul pole
in left field to give Los Angeles a 2-0 lead in the first.

He added a solo shot in the eighth for his second multi-homer
game of the season and 29th of his career.

Maicer Izturis' two-out RBI-single in the second put the Angels
ahead 3-1.

Texas scored in the second on a sacrifice fly by Ian Kinsler and
in the third on Michael Young's run-scoring single -- his 100th RBI
of the season, a career high.

"It's indicative of the big hits he's gotten for us. He's been
able to kind of dial up what our need is offensively," Rangers
manager Buck Showalter said. "He won't make a big deal of it, but
I think it is. I'm proud of him."

Howie Kendrick's two-out RBI-single extended the Angels' lead to
4-2 in the third.

Los Angeles added two runs in the fourth. Figgins' eighth homer
chased Edinson Volquez (1-6), who gave up five runs and a
season-high nine hits in three-plus innings, struck out one and
walked none. Reliever Josh Rupe fielded Rivera's chopper, but
Rivera narrowly beat the throw to first, allowing Orlando Cabrera
to score for a 6-2 lead.

Volquez made his final start of the season and is headed to
winter ball, Showalter said.

"He didn't have a lot to defend himself with out there," he
said. "He didn't have command and his breaking ball was backing up
on him. The ball that Vladimir hit was a slider that ran back into
him."

Rivera drove in another run with a single in the sixth.

Carlos Lee's RBI-single left Texas trailing 7-3 in the eighth.

Game notes
The Rangers lost their third straight and fell under .500
(78-79) for the first time since Aug. 9. ... Young became the 29th
player in major league history, and the fourth since 1996, to
record 200 hits, 100 RBI and 50 doubles in a season. ... Angels 3B
Izturis committed the team's 122nd error in the sixth, which leads
the AL. ... Angels OF Tim Salmon received a standing ovation as a
pinch hitter in the eighth despite ending the inning taking a
called third strike. He is playing his final homestand before
retiring after 14 seasons. "It's great to see the fans rally
around Tim," Scioscia said.