For the past month, Texas Ranger Manager Billy Hunter has been waiting for his team to take off on a hot streak that would carry it past the rest of the American League West.
Six straight wins - especially when three are shutouts - constitute a streak and Hunter was right. His team made to the top Sunday with a 7-0 victory over the California Angels, giving the Rangers a half-game lead over Kansas City.
"It feels real good," Hunter said of his team's new status. "I just want to be there when its all over. I want to be there by more than just half a game, though. I might not make it if we come down to last day with a half-game lead."
Doc Medich, unimpressive for most of the season, limited the Angels to seven hits in pitching Texas' third shutout in the past four games. Medich had early problems, but retired the final 15 batters to take his second win against three losses.
"He had good location, was throwing the ball well," Hunter said. "He was probably throwing harder than I've seen him throw in a long time."
Catcher Jim Sundberg supported Medich with three hits and first baseman Mike Hargrove added a single, double and three-run triple.
"I feel better than I have lately at the plate," said Sundberg, the Rangers' only .300 hitter. "I feel like I'm back in form.
"I think this team is ready to consistently put things together," he said. "We struggled so much the first 2 1/2 months that we were bound to go on a hot streak. You can feel it in the air. I think we're going to keep it up."
The Rangers took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Bobby Thompson drove in Pat Putnam with a ground out and Texas added six runs in the fifth to tag Don Aase with the loss.
Hargrove had the big hit, a two-out, bases-loaded triple off Angels' reliever Paul Hartzell.
The triumph completed a sweep of the four-game series with the Angels.