ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Maybe the rally monkey is warming up for the postseason.
Pinch-hitter Juan Rivera's three-run double keyed a five-run eighth inning and the Los Angeles Angels stormed from behind for a 7-5 victory over the Texas Rangers on Thursday night."We saw the rally monkey come out, and knew it was time," Rivera said, speaking through a translator.The image of the bouncing monkey on the electronic scoreboard first became a staple for the Angels in 2002, on the way to their only World Series title.The Angels' victory over the second-place Rangers built their gaping AL West lead to 16 games and reduced to 13 the magic number for clinching their fourth division title in five years.After the Rangers blew a 5-2 lead, Texas manager Ron Washington essentially conceded the West race to Los Angeles."You're certainly dealing with the reality that there's no way we're going to be able to catch the Angels, so we just wanted to come out and win a ballgame," Washington said. "And we didn't get that done."The game was one of three designated for the major league's first use of replay review of close calls on home runs. Three were hit in the game and all were clearly homers.The Angels' Jon Garland (12-8) pitched eight innings, allowing five runs and eight hits.Francisco Rodriguez pitched the ninth for his 51st save in 56 chances, six saves short of Bobby Thigpen's major league record set in 1990.Garland got off to a rough start, giving up a three-run homer to Milton Bradley during the Rangers' four-run first inning. But the right-hander settled down, allowing only a solo homer to Chris Davis in the fourth."I was just trying to keep it close," Garland said. "I've got to tip my hat to the boys, they did some damage there in the eighth."I outlasted their starter, and we got into their bullpen."Rivera, batting for Sean Rodriguez, hit reliever Warner Madrigal's second pitch of the game after he came in with the bases loaded, one out and a run in on Jamey Wright's bases-loaded walk to Mike Napoli. Reggie Willits' RBI single provided the final run.Wright (6-6) replaced starter Brandon McCarthy to start the eighth with the Rangers up 5-2. Wright allowed two singles and two walks, and was charged with four runs.Mark Teixeira had a solo homer off McCarthy in the third, and Garret Anderson added an RBI double in the sixth.Making his second start of the season, McCarthy allowed two runs, one earned, and six hits over six innings.Teixeira's home run into the seats in right, his eighth for the Angels and 28th overall, narrowed the gap to 4-1 before Davis got the run back in the fourth with his solo shot over the fence in left-center.The new replay rule applies only to questionable home runs, to determine whether they are fair or foul, whether they leave the playing field, and whether there was fan interference.If the umpires' crew chief decides a review is needed on a possible home run at Angel Stadium, the play will be reviewed from a 19-inch monitor in the umpires' locker room, on the dugout suites level behind home plate. The screen and a telephone direct to MLB's advanced media headquarters in New York are secured in a box on the wall of the room.
Los Angeles 3B Chone Figgins, back in the lineup after missing the previous game with a sore toe, had eight assists before switching to 2B in the ninth. The major league record for assists by a third baseman in a nine-inning game is 11, accomplished by seven players including former Angel Doug DeCinces on May 7, 1983. ... Angels 2B Howie Kendrick went on the 15-day DL with a strained left hamstring. He was hurt when he was running from first to second on Wednesday night. Brandon Wood was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake and started at shortstop against the Rangers. ... Teixeira's homer was his first against his former teammates.