The Texas Rangers beat the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim 9-2 on Sunday afternoon in Arlington, clinching the American League West on the final day of the regular season and completing a worst-to-first climb for Texas.
Adrian Beltre hit a two-run home run to put the Rangers ahead in the fifth inning, then Texas blew it open with a six-run seventh inning against a taxed Angels bullpen, an inning that was highlighted by a two-run double by Elvis Andrus.
July acquisition Cole Hamels struck out eight in his complete game for the win.
This is the third division title and fourth playoff appearance in six seasons for the Rangers, who averaged 92 wins from 2010-2013 and played in two World Series.
One year after losing 95 games in a season ravaged by injuries, it looked like more of the same for the Rangers in 2015. They were in last place in the division as late as May 5, and were nine games back, at 43-49, on July 20. But since then, Texas is 45-25, a record eclipsed in the American League only by the Toronto Blue Jays, winners of the American League East.
The loss eliminated the Angels (85-77), who won 12 of 16 games just to put themselves in position for the final day of the season to matter. The Halos' loss clinched a wild card spot for the Houston Astros.
Texas will open the American League Division Series on the road, facing the Blue Jays, with the Kansas City Royals facing the winner of the American League Wild Card Game, which will be played between the and New York Yankees on Tuesday night.
Both ALDS will begin on Thursday, Oct. 8.