Justin Upton, Parker Bridwell lead Angels past Cole Hamels, Rangers – Daily News


ANAHEIM — The Angels didn’t get much Saturday against the Texas Rangers.

Turned out they didn’t need much.

Or so it seemed at first glance of their 2-0 victory in front of 40,719 at Angel Stadium, which when coupled with the Minnesota Twins’ loss to the Toronto Blue Jays moved them within one game of the second wild-card spot in the American League.

Justin Upton homered twice to spark their revamped offense, Parker Bridwell threw six-plus innings of shutout ball to take a pitchers’ duel from the Rangers’ Cole Hamels and the bullpen sealed the deal with superb work in the late innings.

Upton gave Bridwell (8-2) the smallest of leads when he hammered a 1-and-1 pitch from Hamels (10-4) over the left-field fence in the first. He added a laser over the center-field wall on a 3-and-2 pitch in the eighth, tying his career high with 31 homers. He also set a career best with 103 RBIs.

The first of Upton’s two homers was just the sort of offensive punch the Angels were looking for when they acquired him Aug. 31 from the Detroit Tigers. The Angels needed more than they were getting in what amounted to a one-two punch of Mike Trout and Albert Pujols.

“He was doing a really good job in Detroit,” Manager Mike Scioscia said of Upton, who also hit 31 homers in last season and in 2011. “All he did was change colors. He’s picked up where he left off. He’s been playing really good baseball.”

The deeper and more balanced Angels grabbed a lead and held onto it, thanks in great part to Bridwell’s standout pitching. He retired the first 13 batters he faced before Joey Gallo sent a laser just past the glove of leaping first baseman C.J. Cron for a fifth-inning double.

Bridwell struck out five in a row during one exceptional run in the second and third innings. He departed after walking Gallo to start the seventh, replaced by Keynan Middleton. Bridwell gave up three runs in six-plus innings with seven strikeouts and two walks.

“Everything was on tonight,” Bridwell said. “It was a good night all around.”

The Rangers put Bridwell in jeopardy only twice, getting runners on first and second with one out in the fifth and putting runners on first and third with two outs in the sixth. He avoided further trouble in each inning, preserving the Angels’ 1-0 lead.

Most impressively, Bridwell retired Angels nemesis Adrian Beltre on a slow-rolling grounder to third baseman Luis Valbuena. end the sixth. Beltre went into the game with five homers and 12 RBIs in eight previous games against the Angels this season.

“His tempo was great,” Scioscia said of Bridwell. “Parker had a great game plan.”

Middleton, who had been bothered by ulnar nerve irritation, replaced Bridwell with Gallo on first and no one out in the seventh. Middleton struck out Robinson Chirinos, then watched as it was ruled via a replay that Gallo was out trying to steal second base.

Middleton fanned Rougned Odor to end the seventh. Cam Bedrosian then threw a 1-2-3 eighth and Upton extended the Angels’ lead to 2-0 with his second homer of the game, a shot to center in the bottom of the inning. Yusmeiro Petit threw a scoreless ninth for his fourth save.

The race, and the chase for a wild-card spot, continues.

“We need to continue to do what we’ve been doing,” Scioscia said.


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