Hamels pitches Rangers to AL West title

Sun Oct 4, 2015 7:46pm EDT
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(The Sports Xchange) - The Texas Rangers put their personal victory cigar on the mound in the biggest game of the season Sunday at Globe Life Park.

Cole Hamels did not disappoint.

The veteran left-hander pitched a complete-game three-hitter, and Texas clinched the American League West title with a 9-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels.

With its first division title since 2011, Texas heads to Toronto, where it will begin the American League Division Series against the Blue Jays on Thursday. The result eliminated the Angels from playoff contention.

The Rangers will do so knowing they have an ace in Hamels (7-1), who did not allow a hit after the second inning and struck out eight. Texas won each of the past 10 games started by Hamels, 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."

The time came in the seventh inning with the Rangers leading 3-2. Texas sent 10 hitters to the plate and scored six runs as the Angels were forced to use five relievers to get through the 37-minute half-inning.

Five consecutive Rangers hitters picked up RBIs. The surge started with a bases-loaded walk from designated hitter Prince Fielder and ended when shortstop Elvis Andrus ripped a two-run double to left.

One day after the Rangers could not hold a four-run lead in the ninth inning, they did not have that problem with Hamels on the mound. The last hit the Angels had against him was a one-out double by left fielder Shane Victorino in the second.   Continued...

Oct 4, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Texas Rangers starting pitcher Cole Hamels (35) pitches against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports