Vernon Wells of the Angels rounds the bases after hitting a grand slam against the Orioles in Baltimore
Vernon Wells of the Angels rounds the bases after hitting a grand slam against the Orioles in Baltimore Reuters

The Los Angeles Angels launched five home runs in a crucial 8-4 victory over Texas on Saturday to reinvigorate their pursuit of the first-place Rangers in the American League West.

Having been beaten in a series-opening 11-7 loss to the Rangers one night earlier, the Angels (72-60) hit back with a power-hitting clinic that pulled them back within two games of Texas (75-59) in the division.

Vernon Wells began the slug-fest with a solo homer in the second inning, while Mike Trout and Bobby Wilson hit back-to-back blasts against Texas starter C.J. Wilson in the fourth to give Los Angeles a 4-0 lead.

We know we have to put some runs on the board, Wells told reporters. We had enough home runs to get the job done, and we kept adding on -- that's the biggest thing against that lineup.

Peter Bourjos and Howard Kendrick got in on the homer action with long bombs in the fifth and seventh innings respectively and Angels pitcher Ervin Santana (10-9) had enough support to earn the win after allowing four runs in seven innings.

The potent Rangers, who scored a pair of runs in the fourth and fifth, attempted to rally in the ninth where they loaded the bases against Angels reliever Jordan Walden.

But left-hander Hisanori Takahashi came on and got a double-play to end the game.

Wilson (13-6) took the loss having surrendered six runs and 10 hits in five innings.

Nelson Cruz went 3-for-4 and David Murphy had a two-run homer in the defeat for the Rangers.

Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia altered his pitching rotation prior to this critical three-game series to ensure his team would have their top three throwers on the mound.

The Angels will conclude the series with ace Jered Weaver on Sunday as they try to inch closer to the Rangers.

Weaver will be pitching on short rest, just as Santana did on Saturday.

When you're in a series like this it's a playoff atmosphere, said Angels catcher Wilson. It doesn't matter if you're going on one day rest, you have to go out there and compete.