ARLINGTON – Alex Rios hit for the cycle and drove in four runs and Derek Holland threw a complete-game shutout in the Rangers' 12-0 victory over Houston on Monday in the first of a three-game series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Rios became the seventh Texas hitter to hit for the cycle with a double that drove in two runs in the first, a single and run scored in the third, a solo home run in the fourth and a run-scoring triple in the sixth.
The Rangers picked up a half-game on Cleveland, which was idle, for the the second wild-card berth in the American League.
Leonys Martin had a three-run triple in a decisive four-run fourth, and Elvis Andrus and Ian Kinsler each had multi-hit games and an RBI. Andrus was 3-for-4 and Kinsler had a single and a double
A.J. Pierzynski also had two hits, and two runs scored, in the Rangers' 14-hit attack in support of Holland, who won his 10th game against nine losses.
Holland struck out nine and gave up six hits and one walk in front of 33,743 fans.
Rios joined former and current Rangers Oddibe McDowell, Mark Teixeira, Gary Matthews Jr., Ian Kinsler, Bengie Molina and Adrian Beltre to accomplish the rare feat of the cycle.
Beltre did it last season against against Minnesota.
It was the third cycle this season in the majors. Mike Trout of the Angels and Houston's Brandon Barnes each did it against Seattle.The Rangers scored runs in each of the first two innings and broke the game open with a four-run fourth off Astros starter Jordan Lyles (7-9).
Martin's bases-clearing double scored Pierzynski, Mitch Moreland and David Murphy, whose walk with the bases loaded scored Rios for a second time.
Lyles worked three innings, giving up seven runs on seven hits and three walks.
-- John Henry