Napoli's HR in ninth gives Rangers home-field edge in 1st roundSep 29, 2011 - 4:55 AM Anaheim, CA (Sports Network) - Mike Napoli burned his former team for a second straight night on Wednesday, helping the Rangers get home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
The catcher blasted two home runs, including the go-ahead two-run shot in the top of the ninth in the final game of the regular season in a 3-1 win over the Angels.
The AL West-champion Rangers (96-66) finished a game ahead of the AL Central- champion Detroit Tigers for the second-best mark. Texas will face the American League wild card winners, the Tampa Bay Rays, on Friday at 5:07 p.m. (et).
"It's a great feeling. We parted ways, of course I wanted to do well against them," Napoli said of his success against the Angels. "I was excited that I was dealt here. I couldn't have ended up in a better place. We're playing good baseball. We get to go home and start the playoffs."
The Rangers also established a new franchise record for most wins in a season.
Mike Adams (2-3) worked a scoreless eighth and Neftali Feliz worked around a double in the ninth to nail down his 32nd save to close out the season.
Adrian Beltre and Michael Young added hits for the Rangers, who won six straight to finish off the season.
Jordan Walden (5-5) was tagged with the loss after yielding Napoli's homer, while rookie Mike Trout had two hits for the Angels (86-76), who lost their final four games of the season.
Young began the rally in the ninth with a one-out single and after a pop out by Beltre, Napoli followed with his homer, a monster shot that just hugged the inside of the left field foul pole and landed three rows deep in the bleachers.
"Napoli's swinging the bat well," Angels outfielder Torii Hunter said. "His home run power doesn't shock us. He's one of my friends and I love playing against him."
Texas opened the scoring in the second inning when Napoli blasted his first homer of the game, a two-out solo shot off Angels starter Garrett Richards to dead center field for his 29th home run of the season.
The Angels got the tying run into scoring position in the home half of the frame when Vernon Wells singled and moved to second on a groundout by Alberto Callaspo. LA was unable to score however, as Rangers starter Matt Harrison caught Jeremy Moore looking at strike three and got Bobby Wilson to pop out to end the inning.
Wilson led off the home fifth with a double to center, moved to third on a groundout by Efren Navarro and trotted home on a sacrifice fly by Gil Velazquez to tie the game.
Texas got the go-ahead run into scoring position in the eighth when Nelson Cruz walked and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by David Murphy. Ian Kinsler was intentionally walked to put two men on, but Texas was unable to cash in, as Elvis Andrus grounded out to second to end the threat.
Texas took the season series from the Angels, 12-7...The Rangers finished with a 40-17 mark against the American League West, while Anaheim was 27-30 against their own division...Prior to the game, former Angels pitcher Justin Speier threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Speier pitched on three consecutive American League West championship teams from 2007 to 2009...Napoli has homered twice in two consecutive games...Navarro collected his first major league hit with a single to left in the third inning...Richards gave up one run on two hits in five innings, while Harrison surrendered one run on five hits over six frames.
- TEXAS: 3
LOS ANGELES: 1
Sep 28 10:50 PM
- Mike Napoli two-out, two-run Home Run 2 (30) to left scored Michael Young. Nelson Cruz due up.
Rangers 3, Angels 1 Top 9, 2 OutsSep 28 10:38 PM
- Gil Velazquez sacrifice fly to right scored Bobby Wilson with two out. None on and Erick Aybar due up.
Rangers 1, Angels 1 Bot 5, 2 OutsSep 28 9:26 PM
- Mike Napoli two-out, solo Home Run (29) to center. Nelson Cruz due up.
Rangers 1, Angels 0 Top 2, 2 OutsSep 28 8:29 PM
- TEXAS: 0
LOS ANGELES: 0
Top 1, 0 Outs
Sep 28 8:08 PM
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