After the All-Star break, the Angels lost three of four to Oakland, then Texas took the first game of their series in Anaheim in a 6-0 laugher.
The following night, the Rangers looked poised to put the Angels away — for their 13th-straight win — heading into the sixth inning.
After that, the Angels took control of their own destiny.
Howie Kendrick fueled the Angels’ eventual 9-8 win on Wednesday with three hits and four runs batted in, and the Angels took the lead with a six-run sixth inning.
On Thursday, the Angels further demonstrated their heart with a 1-0 win over Texas. It was a game in which they netted all of two hits to Texas’ eight.
Neither baserunner ever saw home plate. The Angels’ one run came in a second inning off a hit batter, a wild pitch and a fielding error.
That proved to be the difference, as Jered Weaver and the Angels held the Rangers scoreless. Weaver’s spectacular, seven-inning performance included getting out of a bases-loaded jam late in the game.
For a second, it looked like the Angels wouldn’t stand a chance against the invincible Rangers. Now, three games later, the Halos are reinvigorated with only a three-game deficit to overcome.
It’s not over yet, of course. Los Angeles must next best Buck Showalter’s Orioles, who have given the Angels plenty of trouble since he took over last season. Meanwhile, the Rangers have proven they’re human.
In fact, the battle for the American League West has really only begun. There are still 64 games left to play in 2011.
But in order to overtake powerful Texas, though, the Angels are going to need more production like they got from Kendrick on Wednesday. It doesn’t always have to be Kendrick, and no individual has to bat in four runs every time. But as a team, Los Angeles will need a momentous effort from all those involved for the rest of the way.
Having endured a daring comeback and a tight decision two nights in a row, these Angels have proved they’re ready to give that effort for 64 games.