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77-54 - Rangers make claim for AL's best with series win over Cleveland

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Texas takes three of four from Cleveland behind Derek Holland's gem

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

It makes a sort of baseball sense that after three alternating blowouts we'd see a pitchers duel decide the finale of this series. The one-run game, being the Rangers specialty 2016, went to the home team as Texas took the series from the Tribe.

The Rangers made a statement this weekend by winning this four-game series against the Indians three games to one. Texas won games started by Josh Tomlin, Carlos Carrasco, and Danny Salazar while Cleveland had the luxury of not facing Yu Darvish in this series.

The Indians came into this series tied with Texas in the loss column for the best record in the American League and leave now three games back of Texas in the American League standings as the Rangers trail only the Chicago Cubs for best record in baseball.

The Seattle Mariners lost in Chicago again today and the Houston Astros lost to the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rangers now have an 8 1/2 game lead on each of those teams in the American League West with just a little over a month remaining in the season.

Player of the Game: Derek Holland was really good again in his second start since returning from the disabled list. Dutch went six innings and allowed just one run while striking out five Indians. Holland also didn't walk a batter this afternoon.

Which leads me to today's Player of the Game: Jonathan Lucroy showed why the Indians wanted him at the deadline as he continued to work magic behind the dish steering Texas hurlers through tough games. But that's an intangible quality that we can't readily see. What is tangible is Lucroy going 2-for-3 with an RBI with the bat as well as throwing out a would-be base thief at second base on a blocked pitch in the dirt.

Lucroy did everything today that you can ask from a catcher and without him, I doubt the Rangers win this close 2-1 contest.

Up Next: The Rangers begin a three-game series with the second place Mariners in what will be seven games against Seattle in the Rangers' next ten games. What's fun about the Rangers' lead in the West is the Mariners could sweep those games and, assuming no change in the standings otherwise, they'd still trail Texas by a game and a half. Yu Darvish makes the start for Texas against RHP Hisashi Iwakuma of Seattle. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm CT.