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Angels are right in the mix

They close wild-card deficit to 2 1/2 games

Associated Press / September 22, 2011

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After a painful last pitch, victory was particularly sweet for Dan Haren and the Angels.

Haren’s start ended after he was hit by a line drive on the final out of the eighth inning, Peter Bourjos and Vernon Wells homered, and Los Angeles beat the Blue Jays, 7-2, last night in Toronto, closing within 2 1/2 games of the Red Sox in the American League wild-card race.

“We’ve put ourselves in a position where if someone stubs their toe, we’ve got a chance,’’ said Angels manager Mike Scioscia, whose club pulled even with the Rays in wild-card race.

“We need help, no doubt, but we need to keep winning,’’ Scioscia said.

Haren (16-9) was struck on the inside of the left wrist, his non-throwing arm, by Eric Thames’s liner. He was able to walk off but headed straight down the tunnel to the clubhouse.

Haren allowed one run and four hits over eight innings for his first road victory since winning at Detroit on July 30.

Cubs 7, Brewers 1 - Matt Garza (9-10) pitched a six-hitter, Marlon Byrd hit a three-run homer, and Chicago prolonged Milwaukee’s drive to clinch the NL Central in the final game at Wrigley Field this season.

The Brewers’ magic number for winning the division title and closing out second-place St. Louis remained at three.

Diamondbacks 8, Pirates 5 - Miguel Montero had a two-run homer among his three hits and Arizona jumped on Pittsburgh early in a win in Phoenix that moved it another step closer to the NL West crown.

The Diamondbacks set a team record with four stolen bases while scoring three runs off Russ Ohlendorf (1-3) in the first inning.

Marlins 4, Braves 0 - Javier Vazquez (12-11) allowed only two hits in seven innings against his former team, and Florida played the spoiler’s role by winning in Miami.

The Braves, who lost for the 13th time in their past 20 games, have a 1 1/2-game lead over St. Louis in the NL wild-card race.

Cardinals 6, Mets 5 - David Freese drove in five runs with a triple and a three-run homer for surging St. Louis, which has won four straight and 12 of 14.

The visiting Mets fell to 73-82, ensuring the third straight losing season for the big-spending ballclub that has been plagued by injuries and off-field financial woes.

Giants 8, Dodgers 5 - Justin Christian went 3 for 5 and knocked in three runs as visiting San Francisco moved to within 3 1/2 games in the NL wild-card race.

Tigers 6, Royals 3 - Ramon Santiago drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, Don Kelly added a two-run homer, and Detroit won in Kansas City, Mo.

Victor Martinez added three RBIs for Detroit. Doug Fister (10-13) yielded two hits over three one-run innings of relief, and Jose Valverde pitched the ninth to remain perfect in 47 save chances.

Rangers 3, Athletics 2 - Ian Kinsler hit a tying home run leading off the eighth and Josh Hamilton followed with a homer two batters later, reducing Texas’s magic number to clinch the AL West to three.

Nationals 7, Phillies 5 - Danny Espinosa and Wilson Ramos each hit two-run home runs to help visiting Washington.

White Sox 8, Indians 4 - Mark Buehrle bounced back from a poor outing and pitched six effective innings, leading Chicago past host Cleveland.

Buehrle (12-9) gave up two runs and four hits.

Mariners 5, Twins 4- Ichiro Suzuki stopped Kevin Slowey’s no-hit bid with a two-out infield single in the sixth inning and added an RBI double in the seventh, spurring Seattle to victory in Minnesota, the 11th straight defeat for the Twins.

Reds 2, Astros 0 - Bronson Arroyo (9-12) pitched a six-hitter and Cincinnati wrapped up its home schedule.

Padres 4, Rockies 0 - Rookie Anthony Bass (2-0) pitched five solid innings to help San Diego complete a rare three-game sweep of host Colorado.

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