Cole Hamels delivered a sterling performance to pitch the Rangers past the Angels to clinch the AL West on the final day of the regular season. The lefty appeared to be shaky early, serving up a two-run home run to Albert Pujols in the first inning, but he settled down from there to pitch a complete game. On the afternoon, he yielded just the two runs on three hits and two walks with eight strikeouts in nine innings.
Third baseman Adrian Beltre put the Rangers on top 3-2 with a two-run homer of his own in the fifth inning. The Rangers would tack on six runs in the seventh to ensure the win.
It’s the Rangers’ first division title since 2011. That year, they went 96-66 and lost the World Series in seven games to the Cardinals. They finish at 88-74 this season.
The Angels, with the loss, are eliminated from contention for the second AL Wild Card. They finish with an 85-77 record. The Astros have officially clinched a playoff berth with the Angels’ loss as well.