SEATTLE -- Two weeks ago, the Angels' postseason hopes appeared bleak. After being swept by the Indians, they fell 5 1/2 games out of an American League Wild Card spot, with five teams ahead of them in the standings.The outlook is markedly different now. After extending their winning streak to
SEATTLE -- Two weeks ago, the Angels' postseason hopes appeared bleak. After being swept by the Indians, they fell 5 1/2 games out of an American League Wild Card spot, with five teams ahead of them in the standings.
The outlook is markedly different now. After extending their winning streak to five games with a 6-3 victory over the Mariners on Saturday night, the Angels have now won 11 of their last 15 games -- surging past the Twins to take sole possession of the second AL Wild Card slot.
The Angels (60-58) were two games behind the Mariners for the final playoff spot at the start of this four-game series at Safeco Field, but they surpassed their AL West rivals by taking the first three games.
"It gives us that little bit of taste of what's left to come," right-hander Jesse Chavez said. "When you're fighting for a Wild Card, every series is a playoff series going down the wire."
The Angels secured all three wins in this series in dramatic fashion, scoring the decisive runs in the eighth inning or later. On Saturday night, they trailed, 3-1, through six innings before Luis Valbuena evened the score with a two-run home run off Casey Lawrence in the seventh.
The Angels completed their comeback by adding a trio of runs in the eighth on Jose Pujols' two-run double and Andrelton Simmons' sacrifice fly. The Halos now have 35 comeback wins this season, tied with the Dodgers for most in the Majors.
"This is a tough season that we've been through, and now we finally gained a spot," said starter JC Ramirez, who yielded three runs over five innings. "People that weren't hitting, now they're hitting. Pitchers that weren't doing very well, now they're doing good. I think that's the kind of team we are. Now, we just need to continue doing it. I think that's the kind of team we're supposed to be since the beginning of the season."
Despite their impressive climb up the standings, the Angels aren't allowing themselves to revel in their position just yet. With 44 games remaining on their schedule, the landscape can change quickly in the crowded AL Wild Card race, which has seven teams within 2 1/2 games of a playoff spot.
It helps explain why manager Mike Scioscia was blunt when asked if the Angels' ascent to the second Wild Card spot meant anything.
"No," Scioscia said. "We've got a game tomorrow."
Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.