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Rangers tune up for postseason in Anaheim

Having struggled to keep the ball in the park this year, the Rangers' Colby Lewis gets one more chance at working through those issues before the playoffs begin.

Following last night's series-opening loss, it matters little to the Angels if Ervin Santana can find his control in his final start of 2011.

Texas eliminated Los Angeles from the playoff race on Monday night, leaving the rest of this three-game series as just a chance for the Rangers to get ready for their second straight trip to the postseason.

Last night's 4-3 victory by Texas dropped Los Angeles three games back in the wild card race with only two games left to play, keeping the Angels out of the playoffs for a second consecutive season.

After winning seven of their first nine in September, the Angels have gone 6-9 with losses in four of their last five.

"It's frustrating is what it is," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "Early September we were playing our best baseball all year. But, we fell short."

Los Angeles now plays out the string tonight against Lewis, who has given up a homer in six straight starts and leads the American League with 35 allowed through his 31 starts. That is 14 more than he gave up in 32 games a season ago.

The right-hander has still won his past two decisions and is coming off a no- decision in Oakland on Thursday. Lewis allowed three runs on four hits and two walks, striking out seven over 6 1/3 innings. The 32-year-old is 13-10 with a 4.45 earned run average on the season.

Lewis is 3-3 with a 4.62 ERA in his career against the Angels, who he shutout for seven frames in Anaheim back on Aug. 18 but got a no-decision. He was handed the same result 10 days later despite yielding five runs over six frames.

Santana avoided a fourth straight loss with a decent outing in Toronto on Thursday, but he did have to work around six hits and five walks in six innings of work. The righty limited the damage to only two runs in a no- decision, leaving him with an 11-12 record and 3.38 ERA on the season.

The 28-year-old is 1-2 with a 5.96 ERA in four games versus the Rangers this year. Texas' Adrian Beltre is 3-for-5 off him in that span with a pair of homers and six RBI.

Beltre homered for a third straight game on Monday and has 31 homers and 103 RBI on the season. His two-run shot helped Texas stay a game ahead of Detroit for the second seed in the playoffs.

C.J. Wilson made a brief two-inning start as he will rest for the next three days before starting the playoff opener on Friday. He gave up just two walks and two hits while Mark Hamburger (1-0) got the first win of his career after giving up just one run on two hits in 3 2/3 innings.

"The first two innings they worked C.J. pretty hard," said Texas manager Ron Washington. "Once we took him out and brought Hamburger in, we wanted three innings out of him and he almost gave up four. Great job from him."

Michael Young had a hit to run his hitting streak to six games in a row. He is hitting .338 on the season -- tied for the second-best mark in the AL -- and is a lifetime .351 hitter versus Santana.

Texas is 10-7 versus Los Angeles this season.