Championship Sunday: Angels win West



ANAHEIM -- Behind John Lackey, the Angels clinched the American League West title and their seventh postseason trip in franchise history on Sunday, seizing a 7-4 victory over the second-place Mariners in front of 44,234 at Angel Stadium.

The Angels were the second club to clinch a division crown, following the Indians by hours, and the third to reach the postseason, the AL East-leading Red Sox having wrapped up at least a Wild Card on Saturday night.

Lackey, the long, tall Texan who won Game 7 of the 2002 World Series for the Halos, was up to the task in the clincher. He went seven innings, holding the Mariners to two runs before turning it over to the bullpen. Lackey, a leading Cy Young Award candidate, moved to 18-9.

This was the Angels' sixth division title and the first time since 1986 that a playoff berth was wrapped up at home -- this was their final regular-season home game. Their lone Wild Card appearance was in 2002, when they went on to win the franchise's only World Series crown.

Facing former Angel Jeff Weaver, the Angels struck early. Casey Kotchman launched a homer leading off the second inning, his 10th of the season, and Maicer Izturis followed with a two-run blast, his sixth, after a walk by Gary Matthews Jr.

Lackey, who used his big curveball as the main weapon in striking out seven hitters, had razor-sharp control with no walks and 72 of 101 pitches in the strike zone. He took a shutout into the fifth when Ben Broussard doubled and scored on Jose Lopez's single. Lackey left two runners stranded when Ichiro Suzuki went down swinging on a big curve.

The Mariners made it a one-run game in the sixth when Raul Ibanez doubled and scored on Broussard's double.

Weaver departed with an injury in the sixth after Izturis singled and Howie Kendrick was hit by a pitch for the second time. After a walk to Jeff Mathis, Chone Figgins' sacrifice fly plated Izturis, and Orlando Cabrera's single delivered Kendrick.

Singles by Kotchman, Izturis and Kendrick produced a run in the seventh, and Figgins' second sac fly made it 7-2. Two of the three outs in the inning were recorded on the basepaths.

Loading the bases with one out against Scot Shields in the eighth, the Mariners scored when Justin Speier recorded a strikeout of Broussard that got past Mathis for a wild pitch. The next pitch also eluded Mathis for another wild pitch, allowing a second run to score, before Speier pitched out of the inning.

The win was the Angels' 54th at home this season, matching the club record set in 2002. Their final six games of the regular season are on the road.



Sultan of Swat
Staff member
If I was the three other teams that make the playoffs I would be very afraid to face this team, they have tons of great players, there starting rotation is one of the strongest in the American League, Lackey and Escobar are a scary combanation, and K-Rod is arguably the best closers in the league. Then when you have a player like Guerrero on your team anything can happen.


#1 Spammer of FC
Wildcard team in this for sure. Not literally of course but I mean they can really pull off some big wins and take it all home or they could go after one round. It's hard to predict as of right now but we'll just wait and see.

Props to the Angels though. One great year and I hope they have some success in the playoffs.