Closer Joe Nathan got the quick redemption he hoped for, and the 2-time defending American League champ Rangers are back in the playoffs.
They’re still trying to win another division title.
Nathan finished a tedious day with his 37th save, after blowing a chance in the opener, and Mike Napoli homered twice while driving in 6 runs as the Texas Rangers won 8-7 for a doubleheader split against the L.A Angels.
While overcoming a quick 4-0 deficit in the nightcap to assure themselves a playoff spot – and postseason berths for Baltimore and Yankees, as well – the Texas Rangers (93-66) have to win at least once during their season-ending, 3-game series at 2nd-place Oakland for the American League West title.
L.A (88-71), which won the opener 5-4 on Torii Hunter’s 2-run double with 2 outs in the 9th off Nathan, trails the A’s by 3 games for the AL’s 2nd wild card with 3 games left.
The Los Angeles Angels have to sweep their 3-game series in Seattle and have Texas do the same against Oakland Athletics to force a tiebreaking 163rd game between the A’s and Angels for the 2nd wild card.
After only his 3rd blown save for Texas in the opener, Nathan worked thru the center of the Angels lineup in the nightcap.
Los Angeles led 4-0 after only 5 batters off Derek Holland (12-6) in the 2nd game, but Ervin Santana (9-13) quickly squandered after his former teammate went deep on him twice.
David Murphy and Napoli hit back-to-back homers in the 2nd as Texas closed to 4-3. Josh Hamilton had a double in the 1st for his 127th RBI. NFL spreads
Napoli’s 23rd homer an inning went on to make it 6-4 and chased Santana, who has given up a majors-high 39 homers. Napoli drove a 2-run double into the left-center gap in the 5th to make it 8-4.
It was Napoli’s 10th career multihomer game, 4 of them against his fomer team the past 2 seasons. Napoli played 5 years for the Angels before being traded twice in 5 days before the 2011 season, to Toronto and then Texas.
Mike Trout, who in the opener became the first major league rookie to reach 30 homers and 40 stolen bases in the same season, struck out to start the 2nd game against Holland.
But the Angels then had 4 straight hits. Albert Pujols had an RBI double and scored on a single by Hunter before Mark Trumbo’s 32nd homer, a 2-run shot.
Nathan took control of after Koji Uehara struck out the side in the 8th. Uehara has retired all 23 batters faced his last 9 games, with 15 strikeouts.
Holland managed to get into the 7th inning, and didn’t allow any more runs until a 3-run homer by Howie Kendrick, the last batter he faced. The left-hander, who made it only 3 innings his previous start, struck out 5 while allowing 7 runs and 12 hits.
Hunter, who lives in nearby by Prosper, had 7 hits in the doubleheader. He is hitting .350 (98 of 280) since the All-Star break, and his game-winning double into the left-center gap came right after Nathan (3-5), his previous teammate in Minnesota, struck out Trout.