ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -- The Los Angeles Angels knew their playoff
hopes were dashed. No need to punish themselves by watching the
finish of Oakland's game at Seattle.
So the plasma screen televisions in the clubhouse stayed dark,
matching the Angels' mood after a 5-2 loss to the Texas Rangers
combined with Oakland's victory eliminated them from playoff
contention Tuesday night."It's hard," center fielder Chone Figgins said in a low voice.
"In the second half, we had the second-best record and Oakland had
the best record. They played almost flawless baseball."After reaching the postseason two consecutive years, including
the AL championship series last year, the Angels' late-season push
came up short."We just didn't reach our goal," manager Mike Scioscia said.
"We just got to get better. From the defensive side, all year was
a struggle. Our offensive chemistry was nonexistent early in the
year. We set ourselves pretty far behind early."The same thing happened against the Rangers.Kelvim Escobar (11-14) allowed five runs on seven hits in 1 2/3
innings -- his shortest outing of the season -- dropping Los Angeles
into a hole from which it never recovered."I'm disappointed because we know we can do better than what we
did," he said. "The month of May we didn't play very well and
that made it difficult for us. We have to be more consistent all
year long."About 20 minutes after the loss, Oakland beat Seattle 12-3 to
clinch the AL West. The Athletics' win rendered their four-game
series beginning Thursday in Anaheim meaningless.The Angels had knocked a game off Oakland's lead for three
consecutive days with a three-game winning streak, but things
unraveled quickly against the Rangers.Robinson Tejeda pitched 6 2-3 strong innings and Mark Teixeira
hit a two-run homer, helping the Rangers end a three-game losing
streak. They need one win in their final four road games to post a
winning record away from home."We don't take any special feelings from doing that," Rangers
manager Buck Showalter said about eliminating the Angels. "From a
baseball fan's standpoint, you'd like to see those four games they
have against Oakland mean something. But they've got a lot of
strengths and they're set up to be competitive for a long time.
They've got a lot of things going for them."Tejeda (5-4) gave up one run on 10 hits, struck out three and
walked none."Robby's been pounding the strike zone," Showalter said. "I
hope it's the sign of a young pitcher trusting his stuff and
attacking the strike zone. He stayed in attack mode the whole
game."Wes Littleton, a graduate of nearby Cal State-Fullerton, pitched
two perfect innings for his first career save."It was pretty awesome. I had my first win here, my first loss
against them in Texas, and now I've gotten my first save against
these guys," he said. "Most of my success is due to the defense
behind me. I get a lot of ground balls and they've made a lot of
plays."Teixeira hit his 30th homer of the season on a 3-1 pitch from
Escobar in the first inning.The Rangers scored three times in the second, which Escobar
opened by giving up four consecutive hits, prompting boos from the
crowd. Rod Barajas, Nelson Cruz and Michael Young had RBI singles
that extended Texas' lead to 5-0.Escobar was replaced by Hector Carrasco.The Angels scored their first run on Garret Anderson's RBI
single with two outs in the fifth. In the eighth, Juan Rivera hit
his 23rd homer off Ron Mahay, who was then relieved by Littleton.
Rangers RHP Akinori Otsuka has been shut down for the
season because of persistent migraine headaches, Showalter said.
... Angels DH Vladimir Guerrero went 2-for-4. He has 199 hits this
season and can become the first Angel to collect 200 twice, having
had 206 in 2004. ... Carrasco went 5 1-3 innings, the longest
outing by an Angels' reliever this season. ... The Angels lead the
season series 10-8, having won five of nine at home going into
Wednesday's series finale. ... The Rangers climbed back to .500
with the victory.