LOS ANGELES: Cole Hamels pitched a complete game three-hitter as the Texas Rangers clinched the AL West title on the final day of the regular season with a 9-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels.
Left-hander Hamels’ pitching gem on Sunday (Monday in Manila) came one day after Texas used nine pitchers in a dramatic 11-10 loss to the Angels.
The loss eliminated the Angels, who came into the game with a wild-card shot and it set up an American League Division series matchup against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Texas has won each of the past 10 Major League Baseball games started by Hamels, but none bigger than Sunday.
“All I was thinking about was trying to manage the game and limit baserunners and go as deep as I could go,” Hamels said. “I knew we were going to score runs. It was just a matter of time.”
Hamels gave up two of his three hits in the first inning as designated hitter Albert Pujols gave the Angels an early 2-0 lead with a home run to center field.
The Rangers got one of the runs back on the bottom of the first against right-hander Garrett Richards, who was pitching on three days’ rest.
But Richards kept the Rangers off the board until the fifth, when Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre hit a two-run homer to right field.
“This game has a cruel sense of humor,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said. “From what happened yesterday, we got punched in the mouth. When that happens, you find out what you are made of, and you saw that in everything they did today.”
The Jays missed out on home field advantage throughout the playoffs when they lost 12-3 to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday. David Price will start for the Jays in game one of the AL Division Series against the Rangers on Thursday.
“The hard part’s out of the way — getting in,” said Jays manager John Gibbons. “Now we can go out there and have some fun and see what happens.
“But those guys in the room and everybody in the organization did an excellent job.
“We’re feeling good right now. Really, I’d say us and Texas probably have been the two hottest teams the last two months. It’s probably going to be a pretty good matchup.”