Final

Series: Game 1 of 3

LA Angels leads 1-0 (as of 9/25)

Game 1: Monday, September 25
Texas3Final
LA Angels8
Game 2: Tuesday, September 26
Texas5Final
LA Angels2
Game 3: Wednesday, September 27
Texas5Final
LA Angels6

Rangers 3

(78-79, 39-37 away)

Angels 8

(85-71, 41-34 home)

    10:05 PM ET, September 25, 2006

    Angel Stadium of Anaheim, Anaheim, California 

    123456789 R H E
    TEX 011000010 3 8 1
    LAA 21120101 - 8 18 1

    W: J. Saunders (7-3)

    L: E. Volquez (1-6)

    S: S. Shields (2)

    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.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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