ARLINGTON -- After two games of teetering on the brink, the Rangers captured the sixth division title in club history in a convincing way with a 9-2 victory over the Angels on Sunday afternoon at Globe Life Park.
The Rangers advance to the American League Division Series and will play the Blue Jays. The first two games are scheduled for Thursday (2:30 p.m. CT on FS1) and Friday at Rogers Centre in Toronto. The Rangers will host Games 3, and 4 (if necessary) on Sunday and Monday. A Game 5, if necessary, would be the following Wednesday in Toronto.
Banister has not announced who will pitch in Game 1 for the Rangers. The Rangers were too busy celebrating on Sunday afternoon to do much planning for the ALDS. They have three days to do that.
"We have a long way to go, but we deserve this," designated hitter Prince Fielder said.
"This is a special time of the year," said Mike Napoli. "We've got something to play for. We got a nice win today, we're going to enjoy it tonight, and then get out there again. It's all about winning."
The Rangers would have advanced as division champions with either a win on Sunday or a loss by the Astros. They got both, but the Rangers were celebrating well before the Astros were done losing, 5-3, to the D-backs.
The win on Sunday snapped the Rangers' two-game losing streak. But they also captured the division title by winning 14 of their last 21 games, and they were 46-28 since the All-Star break, finishing the season at 88-74.
"What we went through to get to this point, unbelievable," first baseman Mitch Moreland said. "We went through a lot of adversity just to come out to where we are on the last game of the season. It's unbelievable."
The Rangers have won the AL West in three of the last six years. But this one came after going 67-95 in 2014 and finishing in last place. The Rangers are the fifth team in Major League history and the second AL team to make the postseason after having their league's worst record the previous season. The 2008 Rays were the last team to make that turnaround.
The Rangers also are the first team since the 2006 Twins to win their division after trailing by as many as eight games in August. It has happened six times since division play began in 1969.
"This means a lot," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "I have never been on a team with as much heart. This means a lot more than what we did a few years ago, because of who these guys are. They have so much passion and energy. It has been a crazy year."