Updated: 02/08/2012 16:54 | By pa.press.net

Angels close on Rangers



Albert Pujols hit two home runs in the Los Angeles Angels' victory over the Texas Rangers

Albert Pujols hit two home runs in the Los Angeles Angels' victory over the Texas Rangers

Albert Pujols impressed as the Los Angeles Angels defeated the Texas Rangers 6-2 to close the gap on their opponents in the National League West division.

Pujols hit two home runs while Jered Weaver gave up two runs in six 1/3 innings as the Angels moved to within three games of Texas in the standings.

The Cincinnati Reds survived a scare before defeating the San Diego Padres 7-6 for their 18th win in 21 games. The Reds, who saw their 10-game winning streak ended by San Diego on Monday, looked to be cruising to victory as they raced into a 6-0 lead, but they saw that advantage wiped out in one go in the fourth inning as the Padres levelled at 6-6.

The National League Central leaders recovered from that shock though to clinch the victory when Brandon Phillips hit a solo shot in the seventh inning off the final pitch by Jason Marquis

American League East pacesetters the New York Yankees were not so lucky after losing a big lead of their own against the Baltimore Orioles, though. The Yankees tied a season-worst run of four successive losses after surrendering a five-run advantage en route to a 11-5 loss.

The Atlanta Braves were celebrating their seventh straight win as they downed the Miami Marlins 7-1 to close to within two 1/2 games of Washington at the top of the NL East after the Nationals slumped to an 8-0 loss at the hands of Philadelphia Phillies.

Cliff Lee produced a fine performance to help the Phillies end their three-match losing streak in style, pitching seven scoreless innings, allowing just one walk and striking out seven in the victory, while he also hit a two-out RBI single in the fourth inning.

Boston claimed their fourth successive win after beating Detroit 4-1 in a match stopped by rain in the top of the sixth inning, while AJ Pierzynski hit a two-run homer in the ninth as the Chicago White Sox saw off Minnesota 4-3 while Kansas City brought to an end a five-game losing streak with an 8-3 win over Cleveland.

In other matches, AJ Burnett pitched a shutout as the Pittsburgh Pirates downed the Chicago Cubs 5-0, while Matt Holliday homered, doubled and drove in four runs as St Louis beat Colorado 11-6.

Also, NL West leaders San Francisco beat the New York Mets 4-1 to extend their advantage over second-placed Los Angeles Dodgers, who lost 8-2 against Arizona, Seattle won 7-2 against Toronto, Milwaukee thrashed Houston 10-1 and Tampa Bay were similarly convincing in defeating Oakland 8-0.

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