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OC Register: Angels fall out of playoff position with loss to Rangers


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  • Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs throws against the Texas Rangers during the first inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

    Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Tyler Skaggs throws against the Texas Rangers during the first inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Texas Rangers starting pitcher Cole Hamels throws against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

    Texas Rangers starting pitcher Cole Hamels throws against the Los Angeles Angels during the first inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Los Angeles Angels center fielder Cameron Maybin ca’t get a glove on a double by Texas Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo during the third inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

    Los Angeles Angels center fielder Cameron Maybin ca’t get a glove on a double by Texas Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo during the third inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Texas Rangers’ Delino DeShields celebrates in the dugout after scoring on a out by Adrian Beltre during the first inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

    Texas Rangers’ Delino DeShields celebrates in the dugout after scoring on a out by Adrian Beltre during the first inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Texas Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, left, celebrates his three-run home run with Elvis Andrus during the third inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

    Texas Rangers’ Adrian Beltre, left, celebrates his three-run home run with Elvis Andrus during the third inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Texas Rangers’ Adrian Beltre watches his his three-run home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

    Texas Rangers’ Adrian Beltre watches his his three-run home run during the third inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • First base umpire Gary Cederstrom chases a bird off the field during the fourth inning of a baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Texas Rangers in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

    First base umpire Gary Cederstrom chases a bird off the field during the fourth inning of a baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Texas Rangers in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Texas Rangers first baseman Mike Napoli chases a bird off the field during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

    Texas Rangers first baseman Mike Napoli chases a bird off the field during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Los Angeles Angels’ Luis Valbuena jumps over a low pitch during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

    Los Angeles Angels’ Luis Valbuena jumps over a low pitch during the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Texas Rangers in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Los Angeles Angels first baseman Jefry Marte throws Texas Rangers’ Robinson Chirinos out at first during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

    Los Angeles Angels first baseman Jefry Marte throws Texas Rangers’ Robinson Chirinos out at first during the seventh inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

  • Texas Rangers relief pitcher Alex Claudio celebrates after their 5-3 win against the Los Angeles Angels during a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

    Texas Rangers relief pitcher Alex Claudio celebrates after their 5-3 win against the Los Angeles Angels during a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

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ANAHEIM — It took three men to extract a pigeon from the Angel Stadium baseball diamond Monday. Texas Rangers first baseman Mike Napoli cornered the clumsy bird, which had spent a half-inning meandering around the right side of the infield, between himself and first base umpire Gary Cederstrom.

Cederstrom then chased the pigeon slowly from fair territory toward the first-base dugout. Rangers manager Jeff Banister finally emerged, picked up the pigeon with his bare hands, and carried it back with him to the dugout, never to be seen again.

It took one future Hall of Famer to beat the Angels.

Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre homered against Tyler Skaggs and drove in four runs in the Angels’ 5-3 loss. Tied, 1-1, after two innings, Beltre hit a three-run home run as part of a four-run Rangers rally before the announced crowd of 35,204 at Angel Stadium.

The Angels moved into the American League’s second wild-card berth Aug. 12 and held at least a share of baseball’s most precarious playoff position until Monday, when the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox split a doubleheader. The Twins’ 64-60 record affords them a half-game lead over the Angels, who fell to 64-61.

Eight teams are within five games of each other in the standings for the final AL playoff berth. The Angels are second in the pecking order.

An RBI groundout by Beltre gave Texas a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Skaggs labored early, hitting leadoff man Delino DeShields Jr. in the toes with a curveball. The Rangers used a single and a passed ball to set up Beltre’s RBI, and forced Skaggs throw 20 pitches in the inning.

The second inning passed quickly. Skaggs (1-4) retired the side in order on eight pitches. In the bottom of the inning, the Angels got their first run on an RBI single by Martin Maldonado that scored C.J. Cron.

Skaggs’ arm went cold again in the third inning. Shin-Soo Choo clubbed a double off the top of the wall in left-center, just beyond the reach of a leaping Cameron Maybin. That scored DeShields from second base with the Rangers’ second run.

After Skaggs hit Elvis Andrus in the forearm with a fastball, he threw a 1-and-1 fastball down the middle of the plate to Beltre, who was sitting on 458 career home runs. Number 459 sailed 399 feet to the grassy berm in left-center field, and it tied Miguel Cabrera for 37th place on baseball’s career home run list.

Skaggs allowed only one other runner to reach base before he was removed with one out in the sixth inning. He allowed five runs (four earned) on four hits, walking one batter and striking out four.

In his ninth start of the season, Skaggs’ margin for error was thin. The Angels began the day with a .659 on-base plus slugging percentage against left-handed pitchers, 29th out of 30 MLB teams. Monday they were facing Cole Hamels (9-1), one of the best left-handed pitchers in the American League.

Hamels allowed only three hits in seven innings, walking two batters and striking out three. The Angels tacked on another run in the sixth inning on an RBI groundout by Cron.

In three starts against the Angels this season, Hamels has pitched 21⅔ innings and allowed three runs. His ERA against them is 1.25. His ERA against all other teams this year is 4.09.

Skaggs spent the weekend in Southern California on the bereavement list. While the Angels wrapped a 7-2 road trip in Baltimore, Skaggs mourned the death of his grandfather. He rejoined the team Monday and JC Ramirez was placed on the disabled list in a corresponding roster move.

Maldonado had two hits. His single in the ninth inning against Rangers closer Alex Claudio gave the Angels runners on first and second base with none out. Both runners moved up a base on a groundout by Maybin.

With first base open, the Rangers elected to pitch to Mike Trout, who delivered an RBI single to right field. Claudio came back to retire Albert Pujols on a routine groundout, ending the game.

More to come on this story.

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The last sentence says it all.

 

With first base open, the Rangers elected to pitch to Mike Trout, who delivered an RBI single to right field. Claudio came back to retire Albert Pujols on a routine groundout, ending the game.

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