ARLINGTON -- Chris Davis took what could be a pivotal step in his baseball career Sunday afternoon. He learned from what he was unable to accomplish Saturday, listened to his manager and turned it into a game-winning moment for the Rangers.
Davis lined a bases-loaded single into right field in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Rangers to a 5-4 victory over the first-place Angels on Sunday before another sellout crowd (48,284) at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
The Rangers pulled to within a half game of the Angels as they embark on a seven-game road trip to Chicago, Kansas City and Philadelphia. The Rangers also turned things around on the Angels after the Halos won Saturday's game, 3-2, scoring the winning run in their last at-bat.
Davis stayed in the moment on Sunday, something he didn't do the day before. With the Rangers already leading, 1-0, in the second inning Saturday, manager Ron Washington had catcher Yorvit Torrealba sacrifice bunt the runners over to second and third, setting up Davis. He worked the count to 2-2 but popped out.
Fast forward to Sunday. Adrian Beltre and David Murphy started the eighth with walks against Angels reliever Rich Thompson, who had just entered the game. Mike Napoli loaded the bases against his former team with a check-swing single to right field.
Davis, who homered earlier in the game, faced a new pitcher, right-hander Hisanori Takahashi. Davis fell behind, 0-2, took a pitch for a ball and then got a slider out of the strike zone. He was able to get the head of the bat on the ball and lined it into right field to score Beltre for a 5-4 lead.
"Wash told me right before I came up when I was standing on deck to just do what the situation asks you to do," Davis said. "He told me that yesterday. It's frustrating when you're given opportunities to do a job and you come up short.
"I feel like today was a great shot of redemption and I was able to get it done. That's one of things we're constantly talking about in this clubhouse, is you can't change what's happened in the past. The only thing you can control is what's right in front of you. We played great today, our pitching staff was huge for us and we're glad to get the win."
Davis also belted his second home run of the season in the fourth to make it 4-1 Rangers. Davis has been working on going to the opposite field, and it paid off against Angels starter Ervin Santana
"I felt like I pulled off a few pitches and I was underneath a lot of pitches," Davis said. "When you're not playing every day you have to capitalize on every opportunity you're given. It was frustrating, but I went into BP today with the mindset that I was going to try and work the other way and try to drive the ball on a line to left field, and it carried over to the game."
Neftali Feliz came through in the ninth with his eighth save in eight opportunities to make Davis' game-winning hit stand up. Feliz, who was not available Saturday after throwing 18 pitches the day before, struggled with his fastball command on Sunday.
He got Torii Hunter to line out sharply to start the inning, but a walk to Howard Kendrick forced him to deal with Alberto Callaspo with a runner on base. Callaspo, who is difficult to strike out, battled Feliz for nine pitches. Feliz threw all fastballs, and finally dialed one up to 96 mph that Callaspo missed. Kendrick was running on the play, and Mike Napoli fired down to second to end the game.
Feliz said after the game that he was tired from lifting weights, which is why he didn't pitch Saturday, though ultimately it wasn't his decision. Feliz said after Sunday's game he is fine pitching in back-to-back games, even three days in a row.
"I have no problem with that," Feliz said.
Rangers starter C.J. Wilson struggled throughout his five-plus innings, giving up a run in the first on a leadoff walk to Peter Bourjos, a double to Erick Aybar and a ground out by Torii Hunter as the Angels went ahead, 1-0.
The Rangers, meanwhile, were gifted three baserunners by the Angels in the bottom of the first and were unable to score. Elvis Andrus reached when Santana dropped a throw at first base. Ian Kinsler got on when Angels first baseman Mark Trumbo and Kendrick let a popup drop between them. After Michael Young flew out, Beltre walked. But Murphy popped out behind second base to end the threat.
The Rangers did get a clutch two-out hit in the bottom of the third when Beltre lined a three-run homer just over the left-field fence for a 3-1 lead.
Leading, 4-1, the Rangers couldn't get Angels shortstop Aybar out. Wilson allowed Aybar's second home run of the season in the fifth to cut the lead to 4-2.
Aybar struck again in the sixth with two outs and the bases loaded. He lined a 2-2 fastball from Brett Tomko into right field to tie the game at 4.
That put the Rangers and Angels in another tie game late. The Halos got the better of Texas on Saturday, but the Rangers countered on Sunday, with Davis, Napoli and Feliz the heroes.
"We're all looking to get going," Napoli said. "We caught some breaks today. We got some good at ABs from Beltre and Chris. We just needed to win and will worry about Chicago tomorrow."
Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.