ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) — Ron Washington says he never deliberately looks at the league scoreboard in left field — but tonight, he couldn’t help but notice. There was finally good news.
Alex Rios singled in the winning run in the seventh inning as Texas gained ground on Tampa Bay in the Wild Card race with a 5-3 win in Arlington on Friday night.
The Rangers win, combined with Tampa Bay’s 6-3 loss to Toronto, leaves the Rangers one game back of the Rays and Indians with two games remaining. Cleveland defeated Minnesota 9-6 to remain in playoff position.
“It’s where we want to be — still in the hunt,” said Washington after the game. “We’re certainly going out there and doing what we have to do.”
With the infield in and Ian Kinsler on third, Rios singled to right to put Texas in front 4-3 in the seventh. The left-fielder then scored from second on an infield single by catcher A.J. Pierzynski to extend the lead to 5-3.
“You have to give credit to A.J. for hustling there,” said Rios. “I took the chance to go home, and it worked.”
Tanner Scheppers worked a perfect eighth, striking out two before yielding to closer Joe Nathan in the ninth. Nathan pitched a 1-2-3 inning to collect his 42nd save of the season.
Texas jumped out early on starter CJ Wilson, who struggled with his control throughout the outing. After Kinsler drew a leadoff walk, Andrus singled to right field to advance Kinsler to third. A fielder’s choice by Rios was enough to bring Andrus home for a 1-0 lead.
Texas loaded the bases in the third, scoring consecutive runs on a hit batter and wild pitch by Wilson. In six innings of work, Wilson walked four, hit two batters, and tossed three wild pitches while allowing three earned runs.
“He just got crazy,” said Andrus in talking. “He started throwing a lot of breaking stuff and he couldn’t control it. We took the opportunity…Right now it’s all about doing everything you can to score and win games.”
Texas starter Alexi Ogando went 5.1 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits while striking out four.
Neal Cotts (W, 7-3) worked a scoreless seventh to collect the win.
Rain is expected on Saturday, which prompted MLB to move the game up to 11:05 a.m. Derek Holland (10-9) is set to face-off against Garrett Richards (7-7).
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