ARLINGTON, Texas — The Texas Rangers most likely will be AL West champions by time they return home next week.
Even before a 5-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night, the Rangers knew any chance of ending their homestand with a clinching game had ended earlier in the day when second-place Houston won at Oakland.
“Destiny is in our hands,” shortstop Elvis Andrus said. “Believe me, no matter if we clinch here, or anywhere, as long as you’re in that, that’s been our main goal. That’s our first goal.”
With nine games left in the regular season, the magic number remained at two for the Rangers (90-63) to clinch their second consecutive AL West title and seventh overall.
After a day off Thursday, when Houston is home against the Angels, the first division-clinching opportunity for Texas could come as early as the series opener Friday night against the A’s. The three-game series at Oakland is their last on the road before finishing the regular season at home against Milwaukee and Tampa Bay.
“I feel great about our ball club and where they’re at,” manager Jeff Banister said.
Mike Trout hit his 28th homer for Los Angeles and Jered Weaver went six innings for his 150th career victory in an Angels uniform.
Weaver (12-12), who struck out six and allowed four runs, joined Chuck Finley (165) as the only pitchers to win 150 games for the Angels.
Andrew Bailey worked the ninth, allowing a two-run double to Andrus before hitting Jurickson Profar with a pitch. He earned his fourth save in four chances since his Angels debut Sept. 2.
Trout’s three-run drive off Derek Holland (7-9) in the fifth put the Angels up 5-1.
“We’re still fighting. … We’re not going to give up. We’re just going to try to get some positives out of the end of the year and go from there,” Trout said. “It’s not fun when you’re not playing for a playoff spot.”
Holland, who spent two months on the disabled list with left shoulder inflammation, allowed five runs and six hits in five innings. The lefty struck out three and walked two while throwing only 71 pitches.
“Obviously I just didn’t do my job,” Holland said. “It’s plain and simple.”
After two impressive starts in late August when he came off the DL, Holland has lost his last three starts while giving up 14 runs in 14 2/3 innings.
Rookie outfielder Nomar Mazara had three hits for Texas, including two RBI singles. After his run-scoring hit in the fifth, he scored on Carlos Beltran’s homer that got the Rangers within 5-4.
Beltran hit his 28th homer overall, and sixth since getting traded from the New York Yankees on Aug. 1.
“We won the series, now we’ve got to move on to Oakland and win the series over there. Sometimes you want things to go your way, but at the end of the day, we play good baseball,” Beltran said about not clinching at home. “Unfortunately it didn’t happen, but there’s no letdown.”
E5 TO HIGHLIGHT PLAY
Rangers 3B Profar was charged with an error when he allowed a grounder by Carlos Perez to go through his legs for an error to start the fifth. But when the next batter, Shane Robinson, tried to bunt, he popped it up and Profar made a diving back-handed catch in foul territory.
CENTURY AND A HALF
Weaver is a California native who has spent all 11 of his MLB seasons with the Angels, and is 150-93 in 321 career starts. The right-hander 18-8 in 40 career starts against the Rangers, his most wins against any opponent.
The Rangers won the season series against the Angels 10-9. … Texas is still an MLB-best 36-11 in one-run games. The Rangers won the first two games in the series by one run, both comeback victories that pushed their majors-leading total to 47.
Rangers: OF Shin-Soo Choo, out since mid-August because of a fractured left forearm, said he was feeling good as he continues workouts in hopes of being ready for the postseason. He has taken batting practice in the cage, but not on the field yet.
Angels: Travel about 250 miles south to start their final road series of a season in Houston, with the first of four games on Thursday night.
Rangers: A day off before opening a three-game series Friday in Oakland.