Angels clinch postseason berth by beating Mariners

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The Angels have essentially had the AL West wrapped up for weeks now, but it was Monday’s win over the Mariners that officially put them into the postseason, as they became the first team this year to clinch a berth.

It will be the Angels’ first trip to the postseason in five years. They lost in the ALCS in 2009, which concluded a run in which they went to the postseason six times in eight years.

Rookie Matt Shoemaker got the victory in an 8-1 game Monday, taking a shutout into the eighth inning before giving up a run and leaving with a minor injury sustained on a grounder up the middle. He improved to 16-4 with a 3.04 ERA on the season.

The other bad news was that Albert Pujols left the game with a mild hamstring injury that he might need to rest for a few days. The Angels got homers from David Freese and Brennan Boesch in the rout.

For the Mariners, it was another big loss, putting a major crimp in their own postseason plans. They’ve dropped three in a row to fall two games back of the Royals for the second wild card.

At 94-56, the Angels merely need to play .500 ball from here on in to win 100 games for the second time in franchise history. If they go 7-5, they’ll overtake the 2008 Angels, who finished the season 100-62 before losing in the ALDS.

Ex-Angels employee charged in overdose death of Tyler Skaggs

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FORT WORTH, Texas — A former Angels employee has been charged with conspiracy to distribute fentanyl in connection with last year’s overdose death of Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, prosecutors in Texas announced Friday.

Eric Prescott Kay was arrested in Fort Worth, Texas, and made his first appearance Friday in federal court, according to Erin Nealy Cox, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. Kay was communications director for the Angels.

Skaggs was found dead in his hotel room in the Dallas area July 1, 2019, before the start of what was supposed to be a four-game series against the Texas Rangers. The first game was postponed before the teams played the final three games.

Skaggs died after choking on his vomit with a toxic mix of alcohol and the powerful painkillers fentanyl and oxycodone in his system, a coroner’s report said. Prosecutors accused Kay of providing the fentanyl to Skaggs and others, who were not named.

“Tyler Skaggs’s overdose – coming, as it did, in the midst of an ascendant baseball career – should be a wake-up call: No one is immune from this deadly drug, whether sold as a powder or hidden inside an innocuous-looking tablet,” Nealy Cox said.

If convicted, Kay faces up to 20 years in prison. Federal court records do not list an attorney representing him, and an attorney who previously spoke on his behalf did not immediately return a message seeking comment.