Rapid Reaction: Rangers 7, Angels 4
The Rangers are flying to the finish line, winning again Saturday, 7-4, over the rival Los Angeles Angels, who decided to wear red tops for the game even though Texas had informed them they were going with red.
The Rangers are a half-game behind Tampa Bay and Cleveland in the American League wild-card race after winning their 90th game of the season.
The Rangers were waiting on the other games that impact them to be completed. The Blue Jays were leading the Rays 7-1 in the bottom of the fifth in Toronto. Cleveland and Minnesota had just gotten started at Target Field because of a rain delay of more than two hours.
Second-inning eruption: The Rangers scored four runs in the bottom of the second with the help of two huge errors by the Angels. Craig Gentry, playing tremendously down the stretch, led off with a double. David Murphy then drew a walk and Leonys Martin moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt. Ian Kinsler followed with a line shot that hit off Angels pitcher Garrett Richards, who was able to recover but made an errant throw to first, allowing Gentry to score. Elvis Andrus followed with an infield single that was fielded by Angels shortstop Erick Aybar, who threw the ball wildly into right field, allowing Murphy to score. Alex Rios had a sacrifice fly for a 4-1 lead. Andrus then scored on a wild pitch that barely got away from catcher Chris Iannetta. Andrus was able to scamper by him and avoid a swipe tag.
Holland struggles: It was a tough Saturday for Derek Holland, who was staked to a 5-1 lead and wasn't able to get out of the top of the fifth. He gave up a leadoff single to Andrew Romine, who did that twice to Alexi Ogando on Friday night, and then a double to Aybar to put two runners in scoring position. Collin Cowgill brought the Angels within 5-3 with a ground out to shortstop. Holland got a big strikeout of Mike Trout, but gave up a RBI double to Howie Kendrick to cut the lead to 5-4. Holland allowed eight hits and threw only 79 pitches.
Big insurance runs: With the key members of the back of the bullpen used a lot in the last two days, not to mention the threat of storms, the Rangers scored two must insurance in the bottom of the fifth. Rios had a leadoff double and scored on A.J. Pierzynski's one-out single. Gentry gave the Rangers a 7-4 lead with an RBI single, his first RBI during his recent hot streak.
Ross comes up big: Left-hander Robbie Ross has worked his way back into being trusted by manager Ron Washington. With the Rangers leading 7-4, Ross worked around a one-out walk to Trout to keep the three-run lead. He struck out slugger Mark Trumbo to end the inning.
Scheppers solid again: Setup man Tanner Scheppers is coming up nails this week. He pitched for the third straight game and fourth time in the last five days and showed no signs of fatigue. Scheppers needed just seven pitches to get two ground balls to second and a fly ball to right field.
Up next: The Rangers and Angels will play the final game of the regular season with right-hander Yu Darvish (13-9, 2.82) facing left-hander Jason Vargas at 2:05 p.m. Sunday afternoon at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.