Three days ago the Rangers trailed the Angels in the Wild Card standings by three games. Three days later, after Anaheim was swept by Cleveland, and a 4-1 victory to sweep the Mariners, the Rangers are now even with Mike Trout and the gang for the only team trailing the Twins for a spot in the playoffs.
The Twins did what they were supposed to do by beating the Tigers tonight so Texas remains 2.5 games out of the second Wild Card spot, but they no longer have to worry about scoreboard watching multiple teams ahead of them. It’s all about gunning down Minnesota now.
Tonight, facing a limited James Paxton, the Rangers scored twice in the first inning on a blasted Carlos Gomez two-RBI double down the line that Ranger Killer Kyle Seager misplayed. For much of the game, those two runs were all the scoring the Rangers would need.
They weren’t all the runs the Rangers would score, however. Shin-Soo Choo hit No. 20 on the year, a solo shot that made Robinson Cano’s ninth inning home run moot. And, also, Adrian Beltre hit a dong on one leg because he’s seriously the Greatest Of All Time.
Back when Gomez left the game against the Yankees earlier in this month with a high ankle sprain, I didn’t think we’d see Gomez or Beltre again this season. Tonight, with Texas clinging to their faint Wild Card aspirations, Gomez and Beltre carried Texas going a combined 4-for-7 with a walk, a double, a HR, and run scored and three RBIs.
Player of the Game: Andrew Cashner has had a better, more consistent season from a results standpoint. Martin Perez has turned things on and put together a nice run in the second half. But it’s Cole Hamels who is still the proven ace of the staff and tonight he showed why.
With a very tuckered out bullpen, Hamels went eight innings and allowed just a Nelson Cruz solo home run on just three hits total and a couple of walks all while striking out eight Mariners.
Up Next: The Rangers travel to the den of horrors known as Rickey Henderson Field at Oakland Coliseum to open a final road series against the Oakland Athletics.
Fittingly, the Rangers will try to not get buried in the opener against RHP Kendall Graveman as Texas counters with Nick Martinez. First pitch from Oakland is scheduled for 9:05 pm CT.