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Cliff Lee Makes Final Regular Season Start Against Angels

(Sports Network) - The Texas Rangers will tune up for the playoffs against a familiar opponent, as they start a season-ending four-game series tonight with the AL West-rival LA Angels of Anaheim at the Ballpark in Arlington.

Texas already claimed its first AL West title since 1999, something the Angels had pulled off in three straight and five of the last six years.

The Rangers have won four of six games and were able to salvage the finale of a three-game set versus Seattle with Wednesday's 6-5 victory. They recorded the win in the bottom of the ninth in an odd way, as Mitch Moreland crossed the plate when Mariners catcher Guillermo Quiroz misfired to first base on a dropped third strike to pinch-hitter Nelson Cruz.

"I've never seen that before," said Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler. "Maybe in Little League -- but you get a dropped third strike in Little League, you can't run. It was pretty interesting. It's good to be on top and get that win, though."

Michael Young and Julio Borbon both had two hits and an RBI, while Jeff Francoeur ended 2-for-5 with a pair of runs scored. Bengie Molina also collected two hits for Texas. Rich Harden made the start for the Rangers and was reached for four runs and six hits in four innings. Neftali Feliz picked up the win with a scoreless top of the ninth inning.

Cliff Lee hopes to get a few scoreless innings on the mound when he makes his 15th start for Texas tonight. Lee dropped a 5-0 decision last Thursday at Oakland, as he allowed four runs and six hits in five innings. He is 4-6 with a 4.25 ERA with the Rangers after going 8-3 in 13 appearances with Seattle.

The left-hander lost to the Angels back on August 1 at the Big A and is 7-4 in 11 career starts against them to go along with a 3.21 ERA.

After losing four in a row, the disappointing Angels swept the Oakland A's in three games and are aiming to keep the ball rolling for next season.

In Wednesday's 2-1 win in 11 innings, Torii Hunter scored Jeff Mathis, who singled with one out, with a base hit to left-center field. Howie Kendrick ended with three hits and an RBI for the Halos, who received seven innings of one-run ball out of starter Joel Pineiro in the no-decision.

"I was DHing today, so I was getting bored on the bench," Hunter said of his game-winning hit. "We were just trying to get the game over. I was looking for anything up and tried to make contact, and it happened."

Bobby Cassevah was credited with the win for throwing two shutout innings of relief.

Getting the nod for the Angels tonight will be Scott Kazmir, who's a putrid 2-10 with a 7.00 earned run average in his last 14 starts. He lasted just three innings in last Saturday's 6-2 loss to the White Sox and was reached for five runs and five hits.

Kazmir, a left-hander, is 9-15 with a 6.03 ERA in 27 starts this season and lost to Texas back on June 30. He has fared well in his career against the Rangers, going 6-3 in 12 starts with a 2.84 earned run average.

The Rangers have won eight of 15 matchups with Anaheim this season, including a 5-1 ledger in the Lone Star State.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.