ANAHEIM (AP) — Justin Upton hit two home runs, Parker Bridwell outpitched Cole Hamels and the Los Angeles Angels moved up in the AL wild-card race, beating the Texas Rangers 2-0 Saturday night.
The Angels closed within one game of Minnesota, which lost to Toronto, for the second wild-card spot. The victory also prevented Houston from clinching the AL West, leaving the Astros’ magic number at one over Los Angeles.
Upton connected in the first inning and again in the eighth. He has 31 home runs and a career-high 103 RBIs this year with Detroit and the Angels — it’s his second straight season with at least 30 homers.
The 30-year-old Upton had just one homer in his first 13 games for the Angels before twice tagging Hamels (10-4).
Bridwell (8-2) retired the first 13 batters he faced and left after a leadoff walk in the seventh. He allowed just three hits, struck out seven and walked two and it was just what the Angels needed. The Angels are 16-2 in games Bridwell has pitched this season.
Yusmeiro Petit retired the side in the ninth for his third save, completing a combined three-hitter.
Hamels gave up four hits in 7 1/3 innings. He pitched around four walks and struck out five.
Robinson Chirinos drew a walk in the Texas fifth, and reached base safely in 29 consecutive games.
Rangers: OF Nomar Mazara (quadriceps) pinch-hit in the eighth.
Angels: INF Brandon Phillips (tightness lower back) is still day-to-day and manager Mike Scioscia was hopeful he would be back in the lineup Sunday . LHP Andrew Heaney (shoulder) is expected to play catch soon and then will be re-evaluated . INF Yunel Escobar (right oblique strain) will start to swing a bat on Tuesday.
Rangers: RHP Miguel Gonzalez (7-11, 4.86 ERA) hasn’t pitched more than three innings in either of his two starts for the Rangers since he was acquired from the White Sox in an August trade.
Angels: RHP Garrett Richards (0-1, 1.38) has allowed one or fewer runs in each of his three starts for the Angels this season, since coming off the disabled list with a right biceps strain.
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