ANAHEIM -- The Rangers kept their tenuous American League Wild Card hopes flickering by getting out of Southern California with a 4-2 victory over the Angels on Sunday afternoon at Angel Stadium.
With the Twins winning at home, the Angels are now two games behind for the second AL Wild Card spot while the the Rangers remain five back. The Mariners, who lost to the AL West-clinching Astros, are 4 1/2 back going into their three-game series with Texas.
"We are still battling to win," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "This season is still in the balance. We are going to play every game to win. We are not focused on anything but that."
The Rangers managed just five hits, struck out 14 times and were 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position, but starter Miguel Gonzalez and four relievers made it stand up. Adrian Beltre had a two-run double and Joey Gallo's 38th home run -- which was projected to travel 490 feet by Statcast™, the third-longest homer of 2017 -- led the Rangers' offense. Delino DeShields twice led off innings with walks -- in the first and eighth -- and ended up scoring.
Gonzalez allowed two hits, walked five and hit a batter in his five innings. But he allowed just one run as, the Angels were 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position off him. Gonzalez walked the first two batters he faced in the first but Mike Trout was thrown out trying to steal and Justin Upton was doubled off on Albert Pujols' line drive snagged by third baseman Drew Robinson.
"We missed a lot of opportunities on the offensive side," said Angels manager Mike Scioscia. "We just didn't get it done in the batter's box."
Angels starter Garrett Richards, in his third start since coming off the disabled list, went five innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on two hits, a walk and seven strikeouts. He threw 74 pitches.
Trout plated both of the Angels' runs on a fifth-inning sacrifice fly and an eighth-inning homer.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Beltre penalizes Angels: Richards walked DeShields to lead off the first, and a throwing error by third baseman Luis Valbuena on Elvis Andrus' slow grounder put two on with one out. Beltre, starting at designated hitter for the fourth straight game, lined a two-run double to left-center to give the Rangers a 2-0 lead.
"I felt better at home plate," Beltre said. "I'm glad to help the team with a couple of RBIs, but there is still work to be done."
Choo runs down Pujols: The Rangers led 3-0 into the fifth, but the Angels loaded the bases with one out against Gonzalez for Trout. He drove home one run with a sacrifice fly, and a walk to Upton reloaded the bases. That brought up Pujols, and the Rangers had rookie right-hander Nick Gardewine warming up in the bullpen. Banister stayed with Gonzalez, and Pujols launched a drive to deep right-center. But right fielder Shin-Soo Choo raced over and made a nice running catch for the out.
"From where we were, it looked like it was splitting the gap," Scioscia said. "Somehow, Choo got to it."
TROUT OUT TURNABOUT
Trout led off the Angels' first with a walk and then stole second with Upton at the plate. But the Rangers challenged the decision, and it was overturned after review.
Texas issued another challenge in the eighth after Andrus made an excellent play spearing a sharp Pujols grounder to his right and heaving across his body to first. Pujols was ruled safe, and a review confirmed the decision.
WHAT'S NEXT Rangers: Left-hander Martin Perez will be on the mound when Texas opens a three-game series against the Mariners on Tuesday at Safeco Field. Perez had a seven-game winning streak snapped when he lost to the Mariners, 8-1, on Wednesday in Arlington. He allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings.
Angels: After an off-day Monday, the Angels kick off a three-game home set against the Indians on Tuesday. Tyler Skaggs will take the mound after earning his first win since April 22 his last time out by pitching seven scoreless innings against the Astros. The left-hander gave up a career-high seven earned runs in five innings during his last start against Cleveland on Aug. 12, 2016.