ARLINGTON – It’ll go down to the final game of the season for the Texas Rangers.
Game 162 will have something riding on it after the Rangers took advantage of a sloppy game by the Angels and overcame a rough outing by Derek Holland and held on for a 7-4 victory on a rainy Saturday at Rangers Ballpark.
The game was pushed up to 11:05 a.m. because of weather concerns, and finished in a steady downpour.
The Rangers are now on a six-game winning streak and continue to hold their ground in the wild card race. They opened the day one-game back of Tampa Bay and Cleveland, but the Rays are currently losing to the Blue Jays. And the Indians are sitting out a rain delay in Minnesota.
If the Rangers and Rays tie for the second wild card, the tiebreak game would be on Monday in Arlington. The winner of that game would play the Indians in Cleveland on Wednesday, assuming Cleveland is the No. 1 seed.
If all three tie for the two wild cards, the Rays would play the Indians in Cleveland on Monday. The loser of that game would face the Rangers in Arlington on Tuesday. Home-field for the wild card would then be determined by the winner of the season series.
The Rangers would host the Rays, while be on the road against the Indians. But the Rangers are simply pleased to stay in the hunt until the final game of the season.
The Angels took a 1-0 lead in the first when Erick Aybar led off with a single and scored on a sacrifice flyby Mike Trout.
The Rangers tied it in their half of the first when Ian Kinsler scored on a grounder by Alex Rios, who reached on an error, and then pulled away with four runs in the second.
Craig Gentry led off the second with a double, David Murphy drew a walk and Leonys Martin pushed them to second and third with a sacrifice bunt. A run then scored on a comebacker by Kinsler, and Elvis Andrus drove in another on an infield single. Alex Rios then had a sacrifice fly, and Andrus wound up scoring on a wild pitch.
The seemingly comfortable 5-1 lead, though, wasn’t in the hands of Holland. The Angels scored a run in the third to make it 5-2, and pulled to within 5-4 in the fifth on an RBI grounder by Collin Cowgill and run-scoring double by Howie Kendrick.
Holland lasted only 4 2/3 innings. He has gone 4 2/3 or fewer innings in three of his six starts this month.
The Rangers rebounded and cushioned their lead to 7-4 in the bottom of the fifth on RBI singles by A.J. Pierzynski and Gentry.
Once again, the bullpen made that lead stand by not allowing a run the final 5 1/3 innings. Joakim Soria went 1 1/3 innings, Robbie Ross had a scoreless seventh, Tanner Scheppers needed only seven pitches in a 1-2-3 eighth and Joe Nathan worked around a two-out double and walk in the ninth for his 43rd save.
The regular season wraps up Sunday afternoon with Yu Darvish starting for the Rangers against Jason Vargas of the Angels.-- Drew Davison