Beltre belts Halos out of wild card spot

ADRIAN BELTRE hit a three-run home run in the Rangers’ 5-3 win over the Angels on Monday (Flickr/Mike LaChance).

By Pete Zarustica

The path to the postseason for the Los Angeles Angels, not surprisingly, may run through Anaheim. On Monday the Halos started a 10-game home stand exclusively against American League West opponents, the very teams they need to beat to grab a wild card spot in the AL.

That journey got off to a rough start, however, as the locals lost 5-3 to the Texas Rangers. The defeat put the team record at 64-61. That’s still good enough for second place in the AL West, but it allowed the Seattle Mariners (64-62) to creep within a half-game. Worse than that, the setback dropped the Orange County team a half-game behind the Minnesota Twins in the race for the second wild card position.

Adrian Beltre hit a three-run home run for what proved to be the deciding blow. Trailing 5-1, the Angels couldn’t catch up and went on to the defeat. Texas improved to 62-62.

“We just didn’t get the key hit with runners in scoring position,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “We got a couple of them, but for only three runs and not many hits, we had a lot of action out there. We did a good job in getting on base. We ran the bases well. We just couldn’t get that key hit.”

Only one Angel – Martin Maldonado – got more than one hit. He had two and drove in a run. While the Halos only gathered five hits overall, they had 11 baserunners thanks to six walks.

Tyler Skaggs (1-4) went 5.1 innings, giving up four hits, four earned runs and walking one batter. He struck out four, but was touched for Beltre’s key hit. The series continues on Tuesday with Ricky Nolasco (6-12) marking the start for the home team.

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