Hunter's heroics allowed the Angels to keep pace in the American League Wild Card standings on a night when the Athletics (9-3 over the Rangers), Orioles (12-2 over the Blue Jays) and Rays (4-2 over the Red Sox) all won. With seven games left, the Angels -- a season-best 17 games over .500 after their fifth straight win -- still sit two games back of the A's for the second AL Wild Card spot and 2 1/2 back of the O's for the first. The Rays are one game behind them, while the Rangers are five games better in the AL West.
"It's a crazy time of the year," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "All we can control is how we play. Needless to say, we need wins, and it's a big win tonight."
Thursday's key games to watch (all times ET)
Mariners (Iwakuma, 7-5) at Angels (Haren, 12-11), 3:35 p.m. Preview >
A's (Blackley, 5-3) at Rangers (Harrison, 17-10), 2:05 p.m. Preview >
Rays (Shields, 15-9) at White Sox (Peavy, 11-12), 8:10 p.m. Preview >
If the postseason started today ...
This is how the teams would match up: Postseason Bracket »
To calculate a team's magic number, take the number of games it has remaining and add one. Then subtract the difference in the number of losses between that team and its closest pursuer.
A tiebreaker game will be played to determine a division winner, even if the tied clubs are assured of participating in the postseason. If a division championship tiebreaker is necessary, the head-to-head record between the clubs will determine home-field advantage. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.
If two clubs are tied for the two Wild Card berths, home-field advantage will be determined by the head-to-head record between the clubs. If the head-to-head record is tied, then the division record will be the next tiebreaker.
2012 postseason schedule
Wild Card playoff games: Oct. 5
Division Series: Oct. 6-12
AL Championship Series: Oct. 13-21
NL Championship Series: Oct. 14-22
World Series: Oct. 24-Nov. 1
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.