It's deep-breath time for teams in tight battles for a playoff berth. Time to relax, hone the focus, to win any way they can.
The Angels are getting down to it now, the regular season offering 14 final games to determine whether they get to participate come the postseason.
They found a way to win Saturday night, and if their 2-0 victory over the
The Angels used two solo home runs from
"There are many different ways to win a game," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "Today we did it really on the mound."
The victory allowed the Angels to pull back within a game of the
"We need to bring a sense of urgency to every game that we need, without getting tight," Scioscia said. "We need to go out there and execute."
Upton's initial homer came in the first inning, and stood as the game's only score until he hit another one off Cole Hames (10-4) in the eighth.
The home runs gave him 31 on the season and a career-high 103 RBI.
"Justin is a great player," Bridwell said. "He has a hot bat and we have to keep that going right now."
The late-season acquisition has looked very much like the guy who had played so well for the
"I think he just changed colors and he's picked up where he left off there," Scioscia said.
Outside of Upton, Hamels pretty much had his way with the Angels. He allowed only two other hits.
But the Angels, who have patchworked their rotation together all season, had an effective answer in Bridwell.
The right-hander they simply purchased from the Orioles in the middle of April cruised through the early going.
He had a perfect game underway when
Bridwell (8-2) lasted six-plus innings, not allowing a run or walk, and striking out seven. The Angels are now 16-2 in games Bridwell has pitched.
"I think it's just a lot of luck," Bridwell said. "I just like to go out there and give my team a chance to win.
The Texas native grew up a Rangers fan. It was the first time he faced them.
"We need that well-pitched game," Scioscia said. "We haven't had that often the last 20 games or so."
Petit has been the unexpected find in the Angels bullpen this season. He threw two perfect innings Friday to earn that win, and a perfect ninth Saturday to earn his fourth save.
While the Angels are making a little move at the right time, the Rangers are fading. Saturday marked their fifth consecutive loss.