Mike Napoli gutted his former team, the Los Angeles Angels, in the second game of a Sunday twin-bill, lifting the Texas Rangers to an 8-7 victory at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and punching the Rangers' ticket to the postseason. The win also clinched playoff berths for the Yankees and Orioles.
Arlington is known for being a hitter-friendly ballpark, and the Angels and Rangers made it a slugfest. Derek Holland was pounded for four runs in the first inning. Albert Pujols got the party started with an RBI double, then came around to score on a Torii Hunter single. Mark Trumbo cleared the bases with a two-run homer before Holland settled down to end the inning.
The Rangers answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the first, as a Josh Hamilton double brought home Elvis Andrus. While Holland was able to throw doughnuts on the scoreboard until the seventh inning, Ervin Santana was pummeled by solo shots from David Murphy and Napoli in the second, and a three-run jack by Napoli in the third, at which point Mike Scioscia brought Jerome Williams on in relief. Napoli has taken particular pleasure in destroying Angels pitching since he left Anaheim. This season, he is batting .442/.561/.904 against his former club, but a paltry .197/.298/.401 against everyone else.
Napoli added a two-run double in the fifth inning to give himself six RBI and the Rangers an 8-4 lead, but the Angels came within a run on the strength of Howie Kendrick's three-run homer. However, Koji Uehara and Joe Nathan were able to shut the Angels down in the eighth and ninth to close out the Rangers' victory and dampen the Halos' post-season hopes.
The Angels are three games behind the Oakland Athletics for the second American League Wild Card spot, with three games remaining.