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Angels need sweep, help to tie for 2nd wild card

Associated Press Published: September 30, 2012

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The scenario is pretty simple and bleak for the Los Angeles Angels.

To reach the playoffs they have to sweep their three-game series in Seattle and hope Texas does the same in Oakland. That wou;d force a 163rd game, a tiebreaker with the A's for the AL's second wild card.

Los Angeles could have used more than a split Sunday against the AL West-leading Rangers.

"We needed to get that second game obviously to keep pace and put ourselves in a little better position," manager Mike Scioscia said. "These guys played their hearts out. I don't know that you can ask much more than that."

Torii Hunter hit a two-run double with two outs in the ninth inning of the opener off Joe Nathan as the Angels rallied for a 5-4 victory.

But Mike Napoli homered twice and drove in six runs against his former team as Texas won the nightcap 8-7. And Nathan closed out that one for his 37th save, assuring playoff spots for the two-time defending AL champion Rangers, New York Yankees and Baltimore.

"Any reliever would ask to get out there and try and put this afternoon's game behind them," Nathan said. "The team over there is playing great, pushed us right the limit again. We've still got some work to do."

The Rangers are still trying to win another division title.

Texas (93-66) has to win at least once during its season-ending, three-game series at second-place Oakland for the AL West championship.

"You would think there would be a letdown, but because these guys take each game for what it is, there is no letdown," manager Ron Washington said. "Yes, it was a tough loss the first one."

Los Angeles (88-71) trails the A's by three games for the AL's second wild card with three games left.

The Angels led 4-0 after only five batters off Derek Holland (12-6) in the second game, but Ervin Santana (9-13) quickly squandered that.

David Murphy and Napoli hit back-to-back homers in the second as Texas closed to 4-3. Josh Hamilton had a double in the first for his 127th RBI.

Napoli's 23rd homer an inning later made it 6-4 and chased Santana, who has given up a majors-high 39 homers. Napoli drove a two-run double into the left-center gap in the fifth to make it 8-4.

It was Napoli's 10th career multihomer game, four of them against his former team the past two seasons. Napoli played five years for the Angels before being traded twice in five days before the 2011 season, to Toronto and then Texas.

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