ANAHEIM (AP) — C.J. Cron hit a two-run homer to cap the Angels’ five-run rally in the sixth inning, and Los Angeles trimmed its deficit in the AL wild-card race to two games with a 7-6 victory over the Texas Rangers on Friday night.
Andrelton Simmons had two run-scoring singles for the Angels (75-72), who gained a game on the Minnesota Twins (77-70) with just their third win in eight games.
Los Angeles used seven pitchers in a bullpen start, with former closer Bud Norris getting the first six outs. Yusmeiro Petit (5-0) pitched two perfect innings, and Blake Parker earned a six-out save.
Shin-Soo Choo hit a two-run homer in the sixth for Texas (72-75). The Rangers have lost four straight and six of seven, their playoff hopes down to a flicker.
The Angels lost ground in the playoff race during their recent malaise, but managed to claw back one game after the Twins lost to Toronto earlier Friday. Los Angeles is six games behind the wild card-leading Yankees (81-66).
Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre drove in runs with sacrifice flies in the eighth after Texas loaded the bases against Cam Bedrosian, but Parker escaped the inning with a lead. He finished his sixth save — the first six-out save of his career — when Mike Trout made a sprinting catch on Rougned Odor’s liner.
Brett Nicholas drove in two runs for Texas, and Nick Martinez pitched six-hit ball into the sixth inning. Yohander Mendez (0-1) took the loss.
Norris made his first start since Aug. 31, 2016, after the Angels decided to use their bullpen for the start in place of Andrew Heaney, who had to skip his turn in the rotation due to injury.
The Angels took an early 2-0 lead, but Soo connected for his 19th homer in the sixth off Jesse Chavez to put the Rangers up 4-2.
Los Angeles answered with three run-scoring drives off three pitchers. Justin Upton doubled home Trout and scored on Simmons’ tying single before Luis Valbuena’s sacrifice fly put the Angels up 5-4.
Cron added his 15th homer moments later, a 427-foot shot into the bullpens beyond left field.
Rangers: OF Carlos Gomez is taking batting practice less than a week after spraining his right ankle. The club is hopeful he can return before the season ends.
Angels: 2B Brandon Phillips left the game before the eighth inning after appearing to hurt himself on a swing during the seventh. … RHP Keynan Middleton has elbow nerve irritation after leaving his appearance Thursday after only four pitches. He is day-to-day.
Rangers: Cole Hamels (10-3, 4.05 ERA) has allowed 17 earned runs over 21 1/3 innings in his last four starts, but is 4-1 in his career against the Angels.
Angels: Parker Bridwell (7-2, 3.94 ERA) continues his improbable run in the rotation with his 17th start. The Angels are 14-2 when the April acquisition from Baltimore takes the mound.
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