Angels make it four straight

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- Vladimir Guerrero is hitting the ball
hard and proving himself as the MVP of the Anaheim Angels in his
first real pennant chase.

Guerrero homered twice and drove in five runs while going
4-for-5 Tuesday night to lead the Angels to an 8-2 win over the
Texas Rangers. The fourth straight win got Anaheim back into first

Anaheim (89-68) returned to top of the AL West in a tie with
Oakland for the first time since June 8 after the Athletics lost
7-4 later Tuesday night to Seattle. The Rangers (86-71) are three
games back with five to play.

"This thing can change momentum in a heartbeat. There's no
reason to put too much stock in where we are," manager Mike
Scioscia said. "The challenge is in front of us, and the
opportunity is in front of us also."

The Angels never trailed Texas after Guerrero's two-out solo
homer in the first. It was 8-0 after his 36th homer, a three-run
shot in the sixth.

"I'm not trying to win the MVP. I'm trying to play every day to
win a championship," Guerrero said.

"Right now, obviously his stroke of driving the ball is
re-emerging, and that's great to see. It's a great time to see
it," Scioscia said. "He's been about as consistent as any player
I've seen from start to finish."

Guerrero also had a homer and a double in the Angels' 5-3 win on
Monday night to start the series at Texas.

"I don't think he has much of an approach at the plate. He just
goes out there and swings," said Angels starter Kelvin Escobar,
the beneficiary Tuesday. "I don't think you can do much against
him. You can make him look stupid on one pitch, and he'll hit it
out of the park on the next pitch."

Escobar (11-12) allowed just two runs on three hits over six
innings to win for the first time in four starts against Texas this
season. He struck out three and walked one.

Garret Anderson and Dallas McPherson also homered for the
Angels, who have two games left in Texas before a season-ending
three-game series in Oakland.

Texas, the surprise contender after four straight last-place
finishes, has lost four of five since sweeping three games from the
Athletics last week.

"The chances are remote, but we still have a chance,"
shortstop Michael Young said.

"We're not going to give in. It's late in the season, and we're
still grinding," manager Buck Showalter said. "In a couple of
days, we all might be surprised as to what's happened."

Guerrero, hitting .333 in his first Anaheim season after
spending his first seven seasons in Montreal, has 121 RBI and 120
runs. Don Baylor is the only other Angel with 120 RBI and 120 runs
-- in 1979, when he drove in 139 runs and scored 120 as the AL MVP.

The Angels led 1-0 after Guerrero homered in the first off Chan
Ho Park (3-7). After Troy Glaus drew a two-out walk in the third,
Guerrero drove him home with a double.

Guerrero had a two-out single in the fifth and scored on
Anderson's 14th homer.

McPherson led off the sixth against John Wasdin with his third
homer -- the only Angels run not scored with two outs. Guerrero
homered again after Chone Figgins singled and Darin Erstad walked.

"He's got about as big a happy zone as I've seen on a player,"
Scioscia said. "The home runs are starting to re-emerge. Although
we're built around more than waiting for Vladie to hit home runs,
when it happens, it's important."

It was the third multihomer game this season for Guerrero, and
22nd in his career. His night at the plate ended with an
eighth-inning flyout.

Park, 0-3 with a 6.55 in six September starts, gave up four runs
on six hits over 4 2-3 innings. He walked four.

"Chan Ho wasn't sharp enough to be facing a team like this,"
Showalter said.

Escobar was pitching on three days' rest for the third time in
his career. He had allowed nine earned runs in just 5 1-3 innings
combined the first two times, but had the Rangers mostly befuddled
after a leadoff walk.

After Kevin Mench's two-out single in the second, Escobar
retired 10 straight through the fifth.

Gerald Laird hit Escobar's first pitch in the sixth for his
first homer. Eric Young followed with a double and scored on
Michael Young's groundout.

Game notes
Park has allowed 22 homers in 88 2-3 innings, and Wasdin
has given up 18 homers in 61 1-3 innings. ... Angels LF Jeff
DaVanon snapped an 0-for-18 slump with an infield single to start
the seventh. ... Anaheim is 25-11 its last 36 road games. ...
Rangers LF David Dellucci left with a strained left groin. 1B Mark
Teixeira fouled a ball off his right kneecap in the ninth and was
limping noticeably.