Santana shutout clinches AL West for Angels

Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:11am EDT
 
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ANAHEIM, California (Reuters) - The Los Angeles Angels clinched a third consecutive American League West crown in spectacular fashion on Monday, the home side storming to an 11-0 victory over the Texas Rangers on Monday.

Starter Ervin Santana tossed a complete-game shutout and after the final out, the Angels (92-64) players and staff rushed their home field to celebrate a fifth division title in six years.

"This is very exciting, a good moment," Santana told reporters. "It was good pitching, good defense and good offense... there's nothing better than that."

The right-handed Santana worked through 112 pitches and the Los Angeles offense feasted on young Texas starter Tommy Hunter, who gave up seven runs in 2 1/3 innings.

Kendry Morales belted his 33rd home run of the season and had three RBIs, Maicer Izturis recorded three hits and two RBIs and the Angels scored three runs apiece in the first and third innings to take early control.

The Angels are set to face regular post-season foes the Boston Red Sox in the best-of-seven American League Divisional Series.

The Red Sox are a win away from clinching the AL Wild Card and have eliminated the Angels in the playoffs the last two seasons, including in 2008 when Los Angeles won an AL-leading 100 games.

This season has been a more challenging one for the Angels, who dealt with early injuries and tragedy when 22-year-old pitcher Nick Adenhart died in a car accident.

The team recognized Adenhart in their celebration, pouring champagne on his No. 34 jersey and gathering at the outfield wall where Los Angeles has a commemorate image of the player.

"We had a rough start, we lost our dear team mate but we came through and maintained," Angels outfielder Torii Hunter added.

"I definitely feel like we did something very special... now look at us, we're celebrating and we won the division."

The second-place Rangers (85-71) lost their second straight game and are now just one defeat away from playoff elimination.

Infielder Michael Young returned to the line-up following injury but Texas was without slugger Josh Hamilton, who has missed 20 of the last 22 games with a back ailment.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner; Editing by John O'Brien)

 
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