Rapid Reaction: Rangers 6, Angels 2
Texas railled from an early 1-0 deficit to beat the Los Angeles Angels, 6-2, on Sunday afternoon at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, clinching a spot in the American League wild-card play-in game against the Tampa Bay Rays at 7:07 p.m. Monday in Arlington.
The Rangers won seven straight games, all at home, to keep their postseason dream alive.
Soto's clutch hit: The Rangers responded after giving up the lead in the top of the sixth. With the score tied at 2-2, Adrian Beltre started a two-out uprising with a single to right field. A.J. Pierzynski followed with a bloop single to right field. That brought up Geovany Soto, who has been on a late-season tear. Soto ripped an RBI double into center field to score Beltre for a 3-2 lead. Soto also had a home run in the top of the ninth. Soto is 13-for-31 with three home runs and seven RBIs in his last 10 games.
Big insurance run: The Rangers took a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh when Craig Gentry had a leadoff single and a stolen base. The Angels brought in Juan Gutierrez in relief and Ian Kinsler grounded the first pitch he saw into left field for a huge insurance run.
Tanner Scheppers needed just nine pitches to get the top of the Angels' lineup in the top of the eighth. He gave up a leadoff single to J.B. Shuck on a 0-2 pitch, but bounced back by getting Erick Aybar to ground into a double play. Scheppers then got Mike Trout to fly out to right field. Trout is 0-for-4 lifetime against Scheppers.
Beltre goes deep: Beltre is having a tough September and appeared to tweak his left hamstring running the bases in the sixth inning. But he still had the flair dramatic as shown by his home run to center field in the bottom of the eighth to give the Rangers a 5-2 lead. Beltre has two homers on this homestand.
Rangers take lead: The Rangers had trailed 1-0 since the first inning on Mike Trout's two-out home run when they finally took a lead in the fifth. Pierzynski started the bottom of the fifth with a double to center field. Soto then walked and both advanced on Jason Vargas' errant pickoff throw while Mitch Moreland was batting. After Moreland struck out, Gentry lined a two-run single into center field for a 2-1 lead.
Darvish out early: Manager Ron Washington made the very difficult decision of pulling Yu Darvish at 84 pitches in the sixth inning and bringing in Neal Cotts to face Josh Hamilton with two runners on. At issue is Darvish's inability to get a shutdown inning late in the season. With the Rangers leading 2-1 after Gentry's two-run single, Darvish allowed a single to No. 9 hitter Andrew Romine, then got a nifty double play started by Kinsler. Darvish then allowed a single to Aybar and four-pitch walk to Trout. That brought Washington out of the dugout. Darvish has given back the lead in the inning after the Rangers give him the lead in four of his last seven starts. Washington was trying to avoid that.
Hambone hurts Rangers: But Cotts couldn't get out Hamilton. He got ahead of him with a 1-2 count, but tried to go with a high fastball away to the former Ranger, who was able to go upstairs to line a single into left field to tie the game at 2-2.
Gentry gone wild: Gentry was on base three times Sunday with two singles and a walk. He is 15-for-31 in his last nine games.
Up next: The Rangers will play the Tampa Bay Rays in a wild-card play-in game at 7:07 p.m. Monday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Texas will go with left-hander Martin Perez (10-5, 3.55 ERA) while the Rays will counter with left-hander David Price (9-8, 3.39 ERA).
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.