ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Angels became the first team in the major leagues to clinch a playoff spot on Monday night, with Matt Shoemaker pitching five-hit ball into the eighth inning of an 8-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners.
David Freese and Brennan Boesch homered for the big league-leading Angels (94-56), who reduced their magic number to three in the AL West race with their 11th victory in 12 games. Los Angeles is assured of at least a wild card berth in its first postseason since 2009.
The Mariners (80-69) dropped two games behind Kansas City for the second AL wild card spot with their fifth loss in six games.
Pujols left in the third inning Monday night after his three-run drive down the left-field line.
The three-time NL MVP held the back of his left leg as he slowly jogged to second base while Mike Trout slid under the cutoff man's throw at home.
After manager Mike Scioscia and the Angels' training staff checked on him, Pujols left the field walking smoothly.
Pujols has 97 RBIs this season. His three-run double tied him with Mike Schmidt for 35th place in baseball history with 1,595 RBIs.
Keuchel (11-9) faced the minimum 21 batters from the major league-leading Angels through seven innings on a scorching day at the Big A, overpowering a lineup that has scored a big league-best 728 runs. The left-hander yielded three late hits, giving up David Freese's RBI single in the eighth on his 114th and final pitch.
Mike Trout's seventh-inning single was the first hit for the Angels, who fell one victory short of matching the longest winning streak in franchise history, set during the club's fourth season in 1964.
Los Angeles (93-56) is cruising toward its first AL West title since 2009.
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Jered Weaver earned his AL-leading 17th win, Mike Trout homered twice and the Los Angeles Angels reduced their magic number for clinching the AL West to four with a 5-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday night.
The Angels extended their winning streak to 10 games -- one off the franchise record set in 1964 -- improving to a major league-best 93-55. They had scored at least seven runs in each of their previous eight contests, tying a club record set in 1979.
Trout, the All-Star center fielder who has a career-high 34 home runs, connected twice for the third time this season.
Weaver (17-8) allowed a run and four hits through seven innings with a season-high 12 strikeouts, his 13th career double-digit game. The three-time All-Star is 10-2 with a 3.35 ERA over his last 17 starts.
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- David Freese hit a two-run homer and Mike Trout had an RBI triple during Los Angeles' seven-run fifth inning, and the Angels beat the Houston Astros 11-3 Friday night for their ninth consecutive victory.
Kole Calhoun had a tiebreaking, two-run single in the fifth for the major league-leading Angels (92-55), who began their final homestand by reducing their magic number to five for their first AL West title since 2009. They lead spiraling Oakland, which lost 4-2 in Seattle, by 11 games with 15 to play.
Calhoun had three hits for the Angels, who erased an early 3-0 deficit with another barrage from the majors' most productive offense. Los Angeles has scored at least seven runs in eight consecutive games.
Brett Oberholtzer (5-11) couldn't get through the fifth for the Astros, who had won eight of 10.
Martinez has to establish the inside portion of the plate, if he expects to be around with this team next year, and getting in on hitters is important in his development.
"Just establishing the fastball inside and it got away from me," Martinez said.
Trout also understands the game of baseball and he didn't like it. In the three-game series, he was hit three times, all near the same spot of the left arm and he almost got popped there a fourth time.
Trout said he was fine, yet after getting plunked in the fifth inning he flipped his bat and had an exasperated look on his face.
"You go up there trying to have at-bats not thinking you're going to get hit," said Trout, who has 102 runs scored and 103 RBIs. "They're pitching inside the whole series, I understand it."
It doesn't mean you have to like it.
Los Angeles won for the 14th time in 16 games and moved 10 games ahead of second-place Oakland in the American League West with 16 games to play.
Aybar homered against Nick Martinez (3-11) in the second inning to put the Angels ahead 2-1. David Freese had a two-run single in the third and Kole Calhoun's RBI single in the seventh made it 5-1. Pinch-hitter Grant Green added a two-run single in the eighth.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- When you get a steady pitching effort -- and that doesn't happen often for the Texas Rangers -- you need to drive in runs.
That has been a problem of late sometimes.
The Los Angeles Angels defeated the Rangers 8-1 on Wednesday night. Since beating the Houston Astros 13-6 on Aug. 29, the Rangers have scored only 21 runs in the past 11 games. In that span, they've been shut out once, held to one run four times and scored fewer than three runs 10 times.
Part of the equation of scoring runs is doing damage with runners in scoring position. The Rangers went 1-for-7 in that area Wednesday night and have gone 5-for-41 the past five games.
Rangers starter Nick Tepesch, who has battled with consistency this season, pitched well enough to win, but in 4⅔ innings of work, he gave up three runs and 10 hits. He battled out of some jams during his 93-pitch outing.
His teammates at the plate just didn't provide him with the run support needed.
How it happened: Everything unraveled quickly for Tepesch. He hit No. 2 hitter Mike Trout, but Albert Pujols tripled down the right-field line, his first in four seasons, for a 1-0 lead. Trout, who scored twice Wednesday, has scored 101 times this season. Trout became one of only six major leaguers to score at least 100 times in three different seasons before turning 23.
The Angels added to the lead when Trout scored on Howie Kendrick's double-play grounder in the fifth, and Brennan Boesch drove in another run when he hit into a fielder's choice for a 4-0 lead.
The bases-loaded play to Pujols: It was a gutsy move by interim manager Tim Bogar, and the percentages dictated he did it. Trailing 3-0, Bogar elected to intentionally walk Trout to get to Pujols with one out.
Phil Klein drew a 6-4-3 grounder from Pujols on a 2-2 pitch to end the inning. It was a smart move by Bogar because if he knew Pujols could hit a ball on the ground, doubling him up was nearly assured. Pujols leads the AL in grounding into double plays with 26 and is second in the majors to Miami's Casey McGehee (28).
Andrus returns: Shortstop Elvis Andrus had missed the past two games so the Rangers could see Luis Sardinas. Andrus returned to the lineup and went 1-for-3 with a walk. Andrus' first-inning single snapped an 0-for-10 spell, and he has only four hits in 17 at-bats during this 10-game homestand.
What's next?: The three-game series concludes when RHP Nick Martinez (3-10, 5.03 ERA) takes on RHP Cory Rasmus (3-1, 2.81) on Thursday night.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Albert Pujols opened the scoring with his first triple in more than four years, rookie Matt Shoemaker had another strong start, and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Texas Rangers 7-1 on Wednesday night.
Pujols almost made it two straight triples, only to change his mind as he rounded second. He was then tagged out trying to get back to the base and finished a home run shy of the cycle.
The AL West-leading Angels (90-55), who are nine games up on Oakland after the A's lost at the Chicago White Sox, were the first team in the majors to 90 wins with their season-high seventh straight victory.
Shoemaker (15-4) set a franchise rookie record for victories by winning his sixth straight decision.
Texas right-hander Nick Tepesch (4-10) has just one win in 12 starts.
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Kole Calhoun hit a leadoff homer, Collin Cowgill had a big eighth inning and the Los Angeles Angels stretched their winning streak to six with a 9-3 win over the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.
Cowgill reached on an infield single to start a seven-run eighth. He scored on Mike Trout's triple and capped the outburst with a bases-loaded triple.
The Angels, with the best record in the majors at 89-55, matched their longest winning streak of the season. The AL West leaders have won 12 of 14 overall.
Hector Santiago (5-7) allowed only a solo homer in five innings.
Calhoun's third leadoff homer this season, and 15th long ball overall, came off Colby Lewis (9-13), who was lifted after Cowgill, the No. 9 batter, reached to start the eighth.
ARLINGTON, Texas -– Colby Lewis is becoming the pitching leader for the Texas Rangers in a season in which the expectations were small given what he was returning from.
Lewis, the veteran right-hander, has emerged as the rock for the Rangers' rotation. Tuesday night, against the team with the best record in baseball, Lewis held the Los Angeles Angels to three runs on five hits in seven-plus innings of work in a 9-3 loss.
With Yu Darvish out for the season with elbow inflammation and Derek Holland just getting back from left knee surgery, Lewis is the stabilizing force for the rotation, at least in the second half of the season.
Lewis (9-13) morphed into the team leader in innings pitched (151.1) and at some point should take over the win total from Darvish (10).
While the Rangers average 5.8 runs per game for Lewis, the hitters have failed to produce enough for him in recent starts.
In five of his past six starts, the Rangers have scored more than three runs twice. They scored 12 runs in a victory at Seattle on Aug. 27 and three in a loss at Kansas City on Sept. 1.
Adrian Beltre’s solo shot in the fourth reduced a two-run deficit to one, but it was all the Rangers could give Lewis, when he deserved so much more.
How it happened: Lewis made one mistake on the evening: a high fastball belted for a home run to right by Kole Calhoun for a 1-0 lead. The Angels picked up the second run when right fielder Michael Choice couldn’t hold on to a deep fly ball by David Freese to start the fourth. The two-base error was costly because Erick Aybar moved the runner over on a ground out and Brennan Boesch’s sacrifice fly scored Freese for a 2-0 lead. Beltre’s homer in the fourth cut the lead to 2-1. The Angels added another run when Mike Trout’s triple drove in Collin Cowgill in the eighth for a 3-1 edge.
The game got out of hand when the Angels sent 11 batters to the plate and scored seven runs in the eighth inning against two relief pitchers.
What this win means for the Angels: The Angels tied a season high with their sixth consecutive victory and are now just a victory away from reaching 90. The Angels haven’t won 90 games since 2009 (97-65). Against the Rangers, the Angels have won 10 of the past 11 meetings and seven of eight on the road.
Debut for Rodriguez: Guilder Rodriguez, 31, made his big league debut after 14 years (1,095 games) in the minor leagues. Rodriguez made a diving stop off a Calhoun liner in the third and struck out three times at the plate. With Rodriguez starting, it extends the Rangers' major league record for players used to 64. Rodriguez also became the 23rd rookie used, which leads the league in players who made their big league debuts (16).
What’s next? Wednesday night is RHP Nick Tepesch (4-9, 4.41) versus RHP Matt Shoemaker (14-4, 3.25).