It wasn’t necessarily pretty but the Rangers’ magic number is down to two. The Rangers held off the Angels 5-4 Tuesday night at Globe Life Park to win their 90th game of the season. Their magic number against the Astros and Mariners could drop to one if both lose late on the west coast. The Astros are at Oakland and the Mariners are hosting the Blue Jays.
If that happens, the Rangers could clinch the American League West with a win Wednesday night against the Angels. That game could be filled with tension with or without the clincher on the line.
Both benches were warned during the seventh inning after Keone Kela’s pitch sailed over Andrelton Simmons’ head. In the eighth, Angels’ reliever Brett Oberholtzer was ejected after he hit Elvis Andrus. Oberholtzer protested that he wasn’t throwing at Andrus. Earlier, Angels’ starter Daniel Wright hit Adrian Beltre and Jonathan Lucroy in the fifth inning.
Pitching: A.J. Griffin was knocked out in the second inning after walking four batters, including two with the bases loaded as the Angels scored three times in the second to take a 3-1 lead. Griffin was charged with three runs on three hits and four walks. It’s his shortest outing of the season for Griffin. Nick Martinez took over and pitched 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, allowing one hit and a walk. At one point in the second inning, Griffin threw 12 consecutive balls (including a hit-by-pitch) before Martinez took over and threw three consecutive balls. After walking C.J. Cron to start the fifth, Martinez made a dazzling behind the back stabbing catch of a line drive from Andrelton Simmons to double up Cron for a double play.
The Angels scored an unearned run in the sixth against Alex Claudio on Mike Trout’s two-out single to right to pull LA to within 5-4. Cliff Pennington reached on Elvis Andrus’ fielding error to start the inning and scored. Keone Kela pitched a scoreless seventh. Jake Diekman started the eighth but left with two outs after a double by Yunel Escobar and a two walks, including an intentional walk to Trout that loaded the bases. Tanner Scheppers came in and got Albert Pujols to ground out to short to end the inning. Sam Dyson earned his 35th save with a scoreless ninth.
Hitting: Carlos Gomez and Ian Desmond opened the first with singles and Gomez scored on Carlos Beltran’s 6-4-3 double play. In the third, Gomez led off with a double and scored on Beltran’s single to right to pull the Rangers to within 3-2. In the fourth, Nomar Mazara’s two-run homer gave Texas a 4-3 lead. Adrian Beltre and Jonathan Lucroy were hit by pitches before Mitch Moreland’s two-out single to right scored Beltre to give the Rangers a 5-3 lead. Gomez had three of the Rangers’ 12 hits and scored two runs.
Notable: Beltre tied Willie Keeler for 36th all-time with 2,932 hits in the first inning ... Beltre’s seventh-inning double moved him past Derek Jeter for 22nd place all-time with 4,922 total bases ... the Rangers improved to 36-10 in one-run games ... 26,520 was the paid attendance.