Juan Rivera’s HR in 11th lifts Angels over Rangers; Hamilton goes 0 for 3 in Texas return

Friday, October 1, 2010

Rivera powers Angels past Rangers in 11 innings

ARLINGTON, Texas — Juan Rivera homered twice, including a tiebreaking drive in the 11th, and the Los Angeles Angels beat Texas 5-4 on Friday night despite the return of Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton.

Rivera hit a 2-0 pitch from Matt Harrison (3-2) into the left-field seats in his final at-bat, giving Los Angeles a 5-4 lead with his 15th homer.

Rich Thompson (2-0) pitched an inning to get the win and Michael Kohn worked out of a jam to earn his first major league save.

Bobby Cassevah started the 11th for Los Angeles but was lifted after he walked Mitch Moreland and hit Taylor Teagarden with a pitch. Kohn came in and got the first out of the inning when Julio Borbon hit a chopper to shortstop Andrew Romine, who dove to tag third base just ahead of a sliding Moreland.

Kohn then struck out Elvis Andrus and Michael Young to end the game.

Jered Weaver allowed two runs and six hits over seven innings in his final start of the season for the Angels. He struck out four to increase his total to an AL-best 233, one better than Seattle’s Felix Hernandez, who won’t pitch again this season.

Los Angeles pushed across two runs in the eighth to take a 3-2 lead. Peter Bourjos hit a sacrifice fly and Maicer Izturis had an RBI single.

Rivera hit a drive off Mark Lowe in the ninth to extend the Angels’ advantage to two, but Fernando Rodney couldn’t preserve the lead.

Bengie Molina’s one-out RBI single in the bottom half went off the glove of third baseman Alberto Callaspo and got Texas within one. Rodney got Borbon to line out to shortstop, then had pinch-runner Esteban German picked off first and in a rundown. Rodney ran toward German, caught between first and second, and while he hesitated, Moreland took off from third.

Moreland, who also homered twice, slid across the plate ahead of a wide throw from first baseman Rivera, handing Rodney his seventh blown save opportunity.

Hamilton, the majors’ leading hitter at .359, played center field and went 0 for 3 while batting third in a playoff tuneup. The AL MVP candidate had missed 24 games since fracturing two ribs crashing into an outfield wall on Sept. 4.

Before the game, Hamilton said he would be cautious, but he made a headfirst dive in the first inning in an effort to make a catch on Bobby Abreu’s double. Hamilton smiled as he got to his feet, apparently avoiding further injury to his ribs, and he later made two routine catches.

Greeted by a standing ovation, Hamilton was retired in the first inning on a foul popup. He also grounded out in the fourth and flied to center in the sixth before he was removed from the game.

Hamilton is expected to serve as the designated hitter Saturday night and start in left field in Sunday’s regular-season finale.

Tommy Hunter prepared for a possible playoff start for the Rangers, allowing one run and three hits in five innings. Hunter was recently added to the playoff rotation.

Manager Ron Washington said earlier in the week he would go with a three-man rotation of left-handers Cliff Lee and C.J. Wilson and right-hander Colby Lewis in the division series against Tampa Bay or the New York Yankees.

But Lee would have to pitch on three days’ rest to start Game 4, if it’s necessary, something Lee has never done before. So the Rangers changed plans and added Hunter, 13-4 overall and 7-0 at home.

Torii Hunter’s homer in the fourth gave the Angels a 1-0 lead.

Moreland went deep in the fifth and seventh for his second multihomer game of the season. Weaver had gone 48 1-3 innings without allowing a homer.

NOTES: Rangers 1B Jorge Cantu and Chris Davis were not available due to flulike symptoms that have affected several teammates. … Angels manager Mike Scioscia still hasn’t decided whether RHP Dan Haren will start Sunday’s season finale. Haren wants to pitch and Scioscia said Haren felt strong in a bullpen session on Thursday. But Haren has pitched 229 innings this season and the Angels are concerned about his workload.

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