Published November 20, 2014
Rookie Peter Bourjos hit a tiebreaking homer in the sixth inning and the Los Angeles Angels went on to a 6-2 victory over the AL West champion Texas Rangers in the regular-season finale Sunday.
Los Angeles (80-82) still had its first losing record since 2003 after winning the division five of the previous six seasons. The Rangers (90-72) open the first round of the playoffs at Tampa Bay on Wednesday, their first postseason appearance since 1999.
Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton went 1 for 4 and finished with a .359 batting average, the highest in the majors. Texas fans got a chance to congratulate him when his achievement was announced after he took the field in the eighth, then he grounded into a double play in the bottom half.
Dan Haren, acquired July 25 by the Angels from Arizona in hopes of bolstering their playoff chances, allowed two runs over six innings with three strikeouts. The right-hander went 5-4 for Los Angeles, including 4-0 with a 1.70 ERA his last eight starts, and was 12-12 overall with a career-high 235 innings pitched.
Bengie Molina and Julio Borbon, the Nos. 8-9 hitters in the Texas lineup, had consecutive RBI singles in the fifth to tie the game at 2.
Dustin Nippert replaced Rangers starter Colby Lewis to start the sixth and the first batter he faced was Bourjos, who hit the second pitch into the left-field seats for his sixth home run. Bourjos started 50 of the last 51 games after being called up Aug. 3.
The only hit Lewis allowed in his five innings was a two-run homer by Hideki Matsui, his 21st.
Lewis, the right-hander scheduled to start Game 3 of the ALDS when the Rangers play at home Saturday, struck out four. His 201 innings are the most in any of his 12 professional seasons for Lewis, a 1999 draft pick by the Rangers who spent the last two years in Japan before coming back to his original team.
After missing 24 games because of two broken ribs, Hamilton went 3 for 11 with a homer and a sacrifice fly with three RBIs in the last three games of the regular season. He finished with 32 homers and 100 RBIs.
Hamilton returned to the lineup in center field on Friday night, then was the designated hitter Saturday night before playing the finale in left field. Before Sunday's game, he said he was feeling soreness and stiffness, but no pain.
The only other Texas player to lead the majors in hitting was Julio Franco in 1991, when he hit .341, the team record for a season until now. Michael Young won the AL batting title with a .331 average in 2005.
Alberto Callapso, like Haren a midseason acquisition for the Angels, had an RBI single in the ninth after an 11-for-85 skid. Mark Trumbo, who had been 0 for 14 with eight strikeouts to start his major league career, added a two-run single.
Notes: The announced crowd of 45,446 pushed the season attendance at Rangers Ballpark to 2,505,171, the highest since 2005. ... Los Angeles finished 35-22 vs. AL West foes, but 45-60 against everyone else. ... Torii Hunter, voted the Angels' team MVP, hit a team-leading .281. The last time the Angels finished without a regular player above .300 was 2001. ... After Nippert had completed his warmup pitches, manager Ron Washington came out of the dugout and made several defensive changes. He brought Cruz, Michael Young, Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus out one-by-one so they could each be recognized.