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Angels eliminated from playoff contention

Sep 27, 2006 - 4:52 AM ANAHEIM, California (Ticker) -- The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim avoided watching the Oakland Athletics celebrate the division title in person this weekend. Instead, they had to watch it happen on television.

Kelvim Escobar did not make it out of the second inning as the Angels were eliminated from playoff contention with a 5-2 defeat to the Texas Rangers.

Anaheim (85-72) had won three straight games, including back-to-back victories in Oakland on Saturday and Sunday to stave off elimination. But the loss to Texas, coupled with Oakland's win over Seattle on Tuesday, doused the Angels' playoff hopes.

"We were in too big a hole early in the season," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "We just have to keep going and moving forward."

After winning the American League West title the last two seasons, Anaheim never was able to put it all together this year. The Angels' offense was inconsistent and the defense was awful, combined with occasional pitching struggles and injuries to key personnel.

"You look up and your on-base percentage was under .300 as a team," Scioscia said. "By the time we got guys healthy and in the lineup to try to find the offensive chemistry, we set ourselves pretty far behind."

The primary issue Tuesday was starting pitching as Escobar (11-14) was roughed up for five runs and seven hits in a season-low 1 2/3 innings to fall to 0-3 against the Rangers this year.

"I fell behind and wasn't able to pitch down in the zone," Escobar said. "They're a good team that can swing the bat very well."

Hector Carrasco came on to toss 5 1/3 scoreless innings of relief, but by that time it was too late.

Rangers slugger Mark Teixeira reached Escobar for a two-run homer in the first inning and Rod Barajas, Nelson Cruz and Michael Young all added RBI singles in the second to make it 5-0.

"Those guys squared some balls that were up in the zone and they had a lot of hits early and five runs up on the board," Scioscia said.

That was enough for Robinson Tejeda (5-4), who exhibited impressive damage control. The erratic righthander yielded 10 hits in 6 2/3 innings, but managed to allow just one run en route to his first win in four starts.

"We got behind early and Tejeda had a lot of room to pitch," Scioscia said. "With a five-run lead, he did what he may not have been able to do if the game were closer."

Garret Anderson had an RBI single in the fifth and Juan Rivera smacked a solo homer in the eighth for the Angels.

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