ANAHEIM -- Justin Upton homered twice to back a strong start from rookie Parker Bridwell as the Angels handed the Rangers their fifth straight loss and secured a series victory with a 2-0 win on Saturday night at Angel Stadium.
The Angels continued to gain ground in the American League Wild Card race, pulling within one game of the Twins, who lost to the Blue Jays, 7-2, on Saturday. The Rangers remained five games back of the Twins and are four behind the Angels with 14 games left to play.
"Every game means a lot to us right now, so any time you can contribute to the win and send us in the right direction, it's fun," Upton said.
Bridwell retired the first 13 batters he faced en route to working six scoreless innings, allowing only three hits while walking two and striking out seven. The 26-year-old upstart outdueled Texas left-hander Cole Hamels, who surrendered a pair of solo shots to Upton in the first and eighth innings.
"Everything was on tonight," Bridwell said. "It was a good night all around."
The Rangers went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position and did not muster a hit after the sixth inning. This was the Rangers' fewest hits in a shutout since a 3-0 loss to the Angels on July 9 when they managed just two hits against JC Ramirez and three relievers.
"We just haven't had any momentum," Hamels said. "Baseball can be pretty frustrating at times, for fans and the players in the dugout. We are striving to win every day. We're striving to win every day. We are not going to give in but when it doesn't go well, it gets pretty frustrating."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Upton strikes twice: Upton put the Angels on the board in the first inning with his 30th home run of the season, a solo shot to left field off Hamels. He tagged Hamels again in the eighth, launching a 408-foot solo homer to center field to extend the Angels' lead to 2-0. The homers gave Upton a career-high 103 RBIs this season, surpassing the 102 he tallied with the Braves in 2014. More >
"He has been hitting well all year and since he came here, he has really caught fire," Hamels said. "You have to make pitches if you hope to get him out."
Bridwell strands a pair: The Rangers trailed, 1-0, in the sixth when Delino DeShields reached on a single and advanced to third on Elvis Andrus' base hit. That brought up Adrian Beltre with two outs, but Bridwell escaped the jam by inducing a harmless groundout to third.
"That's a tough lineup over there, and he made pitches all the way through to give us a chance to hold on to a slim lead," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
"Look, the thing I know, we have talked about this all year, these guys are going to stay in the fight. It's a challenge but this is a group that will fight to the end." -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister
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Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos drew a walk in the fifth inning, extending his streak to 29 straight games having reached base. That's the longest active streak in the Majors and the longest for the Rangers since Andrus reached in 32 straight games in 2012.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW Joey Gallo drew a walk to lead off the seventh and was then called safe after attempting to steal second base. Still, the Angels challenged the call after Gallo's hand appeared to come off the bag while Andrelton Simmons applied a tag, and the ruling was overturned following a replay review.
The Angels also challenged that Simmons had been caught stealing second in the eighth, but the ruling was upheld following a replay review, ending the inning.
WHAT'S NEXT Rangers: Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez makes his third start since being acquired from the White Sox when he faces the Angels at 2:37 p.m. CT Sunday at Angel Stadium. Gonzalez has allowed 11 runs in 5 1/3 innings in his two starts for the Rangers.
Angels: Right-hander Garrett Richards (0-1, 1.38 ERA) will take the mound for the Angels as they close out their three-game series against the Rangers on Sunday at 12:37 p.m. PT at Angel Stadium. Richards, who will be making his third start since returning from the disabled list, allowed one run over five innings in his last outing against the Astros on Tuesday.