ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Rookie Nomar Mazara hit his 20th homer in another testy game with multiple ejections and the Texas Rangers moved closer to their second consecutive AL West title by beating the Los Angeles Angels 5-4 on Tuesday night.
Texas (90-62) cut its magic number to two to clinch the seventh division title in franchise history.
Mazara hit a 438-foot drive off rookie right-hander Daniel Wright (0-4) just beyond the Rangers bullpen in right-center, a two-run shot in the fourth that put them up 4-3. Mitch Moreland added an RBI single an inning later after two batters were hit by pitches.
Seattle and Houston, which started the day tied for second in the AL West, played separate games on the West Coast later Tuesday night. The Mariners and Astros are both scheduled to play day games Wednesday before the Rangers’ series finale against the last-place Angels that night.
Angels left-hander Brett Oberholtzer and manager Mike Scioscia were ejected when Elvis Andrus was hit by a pitch in the eighth, an inning after both benches had been warned when Rangers reliever Keona Kela threw a pitch that went behind the head of Andrelton Simmons.
Andrus was the third Texas batter hit by a pitcher after Mike Trout was hit by a pitch in the Angels second.
In the Ranger’s 3-2 series-opening victory Monday night, manager Jeff Banister (arguing a replay review) and Moreland (questioning a called third strike) were tossed early.
Nick Martinez (2-3) worked 3 1/3 scoreless innings in relief, and the right-hander made a spectacular play in the fifth, when he reached behind his back for a no-look snag of Simmons’ hard liner and turned it into a double play.
Sam Dyson worked the ninth for his 35th save in 40 chances.
Once Martinez realized the ball was in his glove, he leisurely tossed to first base to complete the double play before a fist pump while a huge smile took over his face.
Simmons threw both of his hands up in disbelief and then put them on his hips as Scioscia shook his head in the Angels dugout. Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre mouthed “Wow!” when watching the replay on the big video boards.
There was a short stoppage of play in the Rangers seventh when third-base coach Spike Owen walked toward the Angels dugout and had words with a clearly agitated Scioscia. Umpires and Banister got between them before play resumed.
Angels: Wright was hit in the back of the leg by a comebacker in the second, but was OK. … Scioscia said Jhoulys Chacin, who had a comebacker ricochet off his lower left leg Monday, was sore but should make his next start.
Rangers: Reliever Tony Barnette, who hasn’t pitched since Sept. 4 because of a strained right oblique, threw a bullpen session with 25 pitches off flat ground before 10 off the mound. Barnette called it an “encouraging day.”
Angels: Jered Weaver (11-12) will try to join Chuck Finley (165) as the only pitchers to win 150 games in an Angels uniform. The right-hander is 17-8 in 39 career starts against Texas, his most wins against any opponent.
Rangers: Lefty Derek Holland (7-8) has lost his last two starts, allowing nine runs in 9 2-3 innings.
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