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TEX@LAA: Haren fans eight in eight solid innings

ANAHEIM -- The Angels played 160 meaningful games this season, no minor achievement in light of the absence of Kendrys Morales, their most dangerous weapon, and only one outing from projected fifth starter Scott Kazmir.

True to character, the Angels went down swinging on Monday night as their bid for the American League's Wild Card berth expired at the hands of the AL West champion Rangers.

With motivation of its own, competing with Detroit for home-field advantage in the AL Division Series, Texas prevailed, 4-3, in front of 39,716 at Angel Stadium.

"I'm proud of these guys," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "They never gave an inch. They played hard the whole season.

"The youngsters who came up made a great impression on our team. Those veterans are second to none. We couldn't finish it off, but those guys in this room are awesome."

Peter Bourjos singled home Erick Aybar to make it a one-run game, but Howard Kendrick -- the team's most consistent hitter -- swung through a Neftali Feliz delivery to end it.

"We're only going to get better from this," clubhouse leader Torii Hunter said. "Expect us to be in contention next year."

With the Red Sox losing in Baltimore, the Rays moved into a tie for the AL Wild Card with a victory at home against the Yankees. Boston's loss kept the Angels in the chase for a few more hours.

The Angels earned the respect of the two-time division champion Rangers, who appeared on the verge of running away with the division before Mark Trumbo's walk-off homer on Aug. 18 against Texas reliever Mike Adams gave the Angels renewed life.

"They're a great team, and they played hard this year," Rangers outfielder David Murphy said. "Fortunately, we were able to hold on to our lead. They had a great season. We're not celebrating because they're eliminated. We have too much respect for them."

Adrian Beltre's two-run homer in the fourth inning was the telling blow for Texas on Monday night, foiling Dan Haren's bid for a career-high 17th win. He finishes the season 16-10.

"Dan Haren is as mentally tough as any pitcher or any player I've worked with," Scioscia said. "That's a great foundation to have with Dan, Jered [Weaver] and Ervin [Santana]."

Michael Young, who was a few years ahead of Haren at Bishop Amat High School in La Puente, Calif., drove in his career-high 105th run in the eighth after Elvis Andrus' fourth hit of the night, matching his career high.

Haren gave up four runs, three earned, across eight innings on nine hits and one walk, striking out eight.

The victory went to right-hander Mark Hamburger (1-0) in just his fifth appearance of the season.

C.J. Wilson, in preparation for his Game 1 start on Friday in the ALDS, worked two scoreless innings, yielding two singles and two walks.

Wilson left runners stranded at second and third in both innings. It underscored the Angels' season-long frustrations hitting with men in scoring position.

"We gained momentum too late, as we look back on it," Scioscia said. "We had opportunities early [in the season] because nobody was taking off with this thing.

"Last year was rough, but this one stings a little more, because we saw it in front of us and didn't play well enough to get it done."

Haren finished with 238 1/3 innings, a career high, striking out 192 against only 33 walks in 34 starts. He made one April relief appearance, gaining the win against Toronto.

"That game I threw out of the bullpen proves games early as important as they are now," Haren said. "A couple of more games go our way, and we're in a better place.

"We played good baseball pretty much the whole year. We had our ups and downs. The young guys played great. I don't know where we'd have been without Mark and Peter and Jordan [Walden] and the rest of the young guys."

The Angels scored twice in the sixth after their former reliever, Darren Oliver, came on in relief of Hamburger, who'd yielded a double to Hunter.

Alberto Callaspo's infield hit advanced Hunter, who scored when young Mike Trout lined a full-count RBI single to left.

Aybar and pinch-hitter Bobby Abreu walked on full counts to force home Callaspo. With Koji Uehara on in relief of Oliver, Maicer Izturis popped out, leaving the bases loaded.

Hamburger took over in the third and held the Angels to two hits and a walk in 3 2/3 innings.

Beltre unloaded a two-run homer in the fourth inning, his 31st of the season, following a walk by Young.

Ian Kinsler led off the game with a single, moving up on catcher Jeff Mathis' passed ball. Kinsler scored from second when Mathis threw wildly past first for an error on Andrus' bunt single.

"Realistically, our [Wild Card] chances were very slim coming into the game," Haren said. "We knew what was going on. Boston lost. We were hanging by a thread. Me, personally, I treated it like another game. Unfortunately, I gave up four runs."

A model of consistency, Haren held the opposition to three or fewer runs in 25 of his 34 starts.

Texas remained one game ahead of Detroit in their competition for the second ALDS home-field advantage, along with the Yankees, starting Friday.

Now it's the Angels' turn to play the spoiler role for a couple of nights. Comments