ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Ian Desmond had an RBI single with no outs in the ninth inning and the Texas Rangers moved closer to the AL West title with a 3-2 win over the last-place Los Angeles Angels on Monday night.
Elvis Andrus led off the ninth with a sharp single to left off Jose Alvarez (1-3) before Carlos Gomez turned an attempted sacrifice into a bunt single. Desmond, an All-Star center fielder, followed with his hit to right that scored Andrus.
Andrus and Nomar Mazara homered for the Rangers, who cut their magic number to four in pursuit of their second consecutive division title. Second-place Seattle was playing at home against Toronto.
It was the Rangers’ MLB-best 46th comeback win and their 20th in their last at-bat. They are 35-10 in one-run games.
Closer Sam Dyson (3-2) worked a scoreless ninth for the victory after starter Martin Perez went seven innings and Matt Bush worked a perfect eighth.
Alvarez, the sixth Angels pitcher, had gotten out of a bases-loaded jam in the eighth following a 38-minute rain delay, two innings after Rangers manager Jeff Banister was ejected for arguing when a replay challenge overturned an out and led to an Angels run.
Texas loaded the bases right after the resumption. Adrian Beltre singled on the first pitch, Rougned Odor doubled and Jonathan Lucroy was intentionally walked. While there was some confusion for the Angels with their bullpen phone not operating properly, Alvarez came on and got out of it. Pinch-hitter Ryan Rua lined out hard to third base before Jared Hoying hit an infield popout.
Banister was tossed in the sixth. Yunel Escobar was thrown out by several feet trying to stretch his hit into a triple in the sixth, then motioned toward the outfield. Manager Mike Scioscia challenged the ball had become lodged underneath the padding on the wall in right-center field and should have been ruled dead, as per the ground rules for the Rangers ballpark.
The replay showed the ball had indeed become lodged under the padding. Right fielder Mazara had to reach twice to get the ball, but never indicated the ball was stuck, then made a strong throw to second baseman Odor for the relay throw to third.
When umpires put Escobar at second base, Banister immediately came out of the dugout, then was ejected by crew chief and second base umpire Joe West after continuing to argue the call.
Mike Trout followed with a triple into the right-field corner to tie the game 1-1.
Jefry Marte was hit by a pitch to start the seventh and scored on a two-out double by Carlos Perez.
Texas got back even on Andrus’ sixth homer, a two-out solo shot in the seventh that just cleared the 8-foot wall in center.
Mazara had lined a solo shot over the left-field fence to start the fifth.
Angels: Starting pitcher Jhouyls Chacin was struck on the left shin by a hard comebacker in the fourth. The ball ricocheted to first baseman C.J. Cron for the second out in the inning. Chacin remained on the ground for several minutes, then made a few warmup tosses before staying in the game. Chacin allowed one run over five innings while throwing 91 pitches, 29 after getting hit.
Rangers: Andrus was struck directly on his right (throwing) elbow by Chacin’s pickoff attempt when diving back into second while a baserunner in the third inning.
Angels: Rookie right-hander Daniel Wright (0-3, 7.04 ERA) is still seeking his first MLB victory. He made his MLB debut with Cincinnati earlier this season.
Rangers: Texas has won seven of the last 10 games started by A.J. Griffin (7-4, 4.78 ERA). The right-hander’s Texas debut was a win at the Angels on April 8.