While the Los Angeles Angels spend this weekend preparing for October, the Rangers are already thinking ahead to 2015.
Late in a lost season, Texas interim manager Tim Bogar is thrilled to see his players getting good work done for the future.
Ryan Rua had four hits, Jake Smolinski homered and the Rangers beat the playoff-bound Angels 12-3 Friday night for their seventh straight victory.
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Adrian Beltre had a two-run single and Lisalverto Bonilla pitched five solid innings for the Rangers, who still have the majors' worst record at 61-92 after their longest winning streak of the year. Texas pounded out 15 hits and mostly shut down the big leagues' most productive offense.
"Everything we do now builds toward next year," said Bogar, who's making a strong case for the full-time job. "We don't know who's going to be on this team. We hope all our injured guys are going to be back, and some of these guys are going to have to fight for spots. ... (But) they're excited about being out here. They're having fun."
Texas took a 10-0 lead in the fifth inning on the major league-leading Angels, who have lost two straight since clinching the AL West title on Wednesday with their 12th win in 14 games.
"There's still a preview for next year to be shown," said Daniel Robertson, who drove in two runs. "We've got to give fans a reason to be excited about next year."
Los Angeles' lead over Baltimore for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs stayed at 2 1/2 games with the Orioles' 5-3 loss to Boston.
Brennan Boesch hit a two-run homer for the Angels, who went back to a normal lineup for the first six innings against Texas after resting their regular position players Thursday.
But Hector Santiago couldn't record an out in the second inning of a disastrous start, and the Angels didn't manage a hit until David Freese's double leading off the fifth.
Bonilla (2-0) yielded two hits and four walks in his second major league start for the Rangers, who beat Los Angeles for just the second time in 14 games.
Santiago (5-9) has seriously hurt his case for a spot in the Angels' playoff rotation with consecutive horrible starts during this homestand. After he failed to get an out in the third inning of a loss to Houston last Sunday, the left-hander couldn't get an out in the second inning against the lowly Rangers.
"Hector has definitely showed what he can do when he's on," Scioscia said. "I think he has to get back and just exhale. He's had a couple of rough ones, obviously, but his arm is good. His stuff is good."
After Smolinski's second homer highlighted a three-run first inning, four straight Rangers singled in the second to chase Santiago. Leonys Martin outran Mike Trout's throw to the plate on Elvis Andrus' sacrifice fly to put Texas up 7-0.
"I'll be fresh for the next one, that's for sure," Santiago said.\
Trout went 0 for 3 with two strikeouts, taking sole possession of the AL lead with 175 strikeouts in what's likely to be his first MVP season.
Santiago responded to another poor outing by shaving his head and most of his beard. "Just clean it off, get all the bad effects out," he said.
Angels: Josh Hamilton sat out for the 14th time in 15 games with pain in his upper body, but manager Mike Scioscia is optimistic his $125 million cleanup hitter can return for the playoffs.
After two extra days of rest, Angels ace Jered Weaver (17-8, 3.50) is lined up to start the AL division series opener on Oct. 2. He'll take on Colby Lewis (10-13, 5.12).