But when a need for him arose, Percival was glad to contribute to the latest of many Anaheim highlights.
"When things are going good, you've got to ride the wave," Percival said after a 10-7 win over the Rangers put the Angels atop a tsunami.
With Darin Erstad driving in four runs and Jason Dickson winning his seventh straight decision, the Angels made it 18 wins in 21 games and opened a 2 ½ game lead in the AL West.
Erstad's three-run double keyed a five-run second off Matt Perisho (0-2), and the Angels scored five more runs in the third to take a 10-0 lead.
It was 10-6 in the ninth with two men on when Percival was summoned. A run-scoring grounder by Rusty Greer made it 10-7 before Juan Gonzalez, who earlier had picked up his 89th RBI of the season, popped out to short to end the game.
It was Percival's 23rd save in 25 opportunities, one of many keys to Anaheim's charge.
"Even when we weren't playing well earlier in the season, we were still scrapping for wins," Percival said. "The fact this club once was 26-26 tells me this is a very resilient team."
At 44-29, the Angels matched their 1982 club for the best 73-game record in franchise history.
Dickson (8-4), pitching with a broken index finger on his throwing hand, allowed seven hits and four runs in six innings. He retired the first 11 before the Rangers got four straight hits with two outs in the fourth, including Will Clark's RBI double and Ivan Rodriguez's two-run single.
"The first three innings were the best I've thrown all season," said Dickson, who was banished to the bullpen after starting the season 1-4. "I was terrible in the beginning, and they would've had every right to send me down to the minors."
"We didn't fold our tent. We made them get their closer in there," said Texas manager Johnny Oates. "But the first three innings weren't very pretty."
Erstad's bases-loaded double, a bases-loaded walk by Tim Salmon and Cecil Fielder's force-play grounder gave the Angels a 5-0 lead in the second.
The Angels added five more in an ugly third inning. Gary DiSarcina and Jim Edmonds had RBI singles and Erstad hit a run-scoring grounder. Another run scored on a bases-loaded walk to Damon Mashore and one came in on third baseman Fernando Tatis' error.
Oates finally, and reluctantly, removed Perisho with two outs.
"I was looking for five (innings) from Perisho," said Oates, alluding to having had to use his bullpen for six innings in Saturday's game. "Even though it's a game against the team you're trying to catch, after yesterday you just have to chew on it a bit."
Al Levine took over ad sparkled for 3 1-3 innings, blanking the Angels on one hit. Levine had gone three innings Saturday, and 4 1-3 innings four days prior to that.
"I had no plans to use Levine. But we called down there and he said he could give us a couple of innings. I have no idea how he threw the ball," Oates said.
For the second straight game, the Rangers threw an Angels discard against Anaheim. Perisho, who made eight starts for Anaheim last season, fared even worse than had Todd Van Poppel, an 8-3 loser Saturday.
In 2 2-3 innings, Perisho's ERA rose from 23.14 to 27.00 as he allowed 10 hits and 10 runs nine earned with five walks and one strikeout.
With Levine restoring order, the Rangers made a run at Anaheim.
Greer's RBI single in the fifth made it 10-4, and Greer's run-scoring single off Mike Holtz and Gonzalez's sacrifice fly off Shigetoshi Hasegawa made it 10-6 in the seventh.
Notes: Dickson suffered the minor fracture to his right index finger on Wednesday when a bat slipped out of his hands during batting practice in preparation for the resumption of interleague play. ... Sunday's game ended the Rangers' streak of 252 consecutive televised games on Arlington or national TV since Sept. 11, 1996; it was Texas' only 1998 game not being aired. ... Texas played its 13th consecutive game without stealing a base. Contributing to that drought is a 2-for-29 slump by leadoff hitter Tom Goodwin, second in the AL with 23 steals. ... Anaheim has charged into the AL West lead with three-fifths of its starting rotation Ken Hill, Jack McDowell, Allen Watson on the disabled list. But replacements Omar Olivares (5-2), Steve Sparks (2-0) and rookie Jarrod Washburn (3-0) have gone a combined 10-2.
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