ARLINGTON (AP) — Craig Gentry doubled, scored and bunted in a run, helping the Texas Rangers beat the sloppy Los Angeles Angels 7-4 Saturday and reach the final day of the regular season with a chance to make the playoffs for the fourth year in a row.
Texas (90-71) won its sixth straight — and second in less than 24 hours. Cleveland and Tampa Bay started the day tied for the two AL wild-card spots at 90-70, a game ahead of the Rangers.
The Rangers were down three batters in, but the Angels made five errors for a game for the first time since Sept. 16, 2006, also at Texas. Shortstop Erick Aybar, right fielder Kole Calhoun, left fielder Collin Cowgill, pitcher Garrett. Richards and third baseman Andrew Romine has the miscues.
Texas got even with a gift run in the bottom of the first on a grounder through the legs of third baseman Andrew Romine. The Angels then made two more errors, and Richards (7-8) threw a wild pitch in the second when the Rangers went ahead for good with four runs — three of them unearned.
The 11:07 a.m. start was the earliest home game in the 42 seasons the Rangers have played in Texas — the game was moved up eight hours because of the threat of bad weather.
The game was played mostly under overcast skies, and there were quick showers while the Rangers batted in the first and fifth innings without any delays. A heavy rain was falling while Joe Nathan closed out the game, not long after an announcement was made to the crowd warning of the potential of storms moving into the area.
Joakim Soria (1-0) got his first major league victory since July 23, 2011, striking out two in 1 1-3 scoreless innings in relief of Derek Holland. Robbie Ross and Tanner Scheppers each worked a scoreless inning before Nathan’s 43rd save in 46 chances.
A two-time All-Star, Soria was recovering from elbow ligament surgery when he signed a two-year deal with the Rangers last fall. The right-hander’s season debut July 7 was his first major league appearance in nearly two years.
Aybar led off the game with the first of his three doubles, then scored the first of his three runs. He came home on sacrifice flies by Mike Trout in the first and third innings.
The Rangers got even at 1 when Alex Rios hit a grounder through Romine’s legs for an error and that home Ian Kinsler, who had a leadoff single.
Gentry, 15 for 33 the last nine games, had a leadoff double in the second before David Murphy walked and Leonys Martin had the first of his two sacrifice bunts.
Kinsler hit a liner off the upper body of Richards, who grabbed the ball and looked the runner back to third before making an errant throw to first base that allowed a run. Rios had a sac fly and Elvis Andrus, who had singled, scored on a wild pitch that ricocheted only a few feet in front of the plate.
The Angels closed to 5-4 in the fifth on doubles by Aybar and Howie Kendrick that chased Holland.
Rios had a leadoff double in the bottom and scored on a single by A.J. Pierzynski, who came home on a safety squeeze bunt that the speedy Gentry turned into an infield hit.
NOTES: All nine Texas starters had hits. … Yu Darvish (13-9, 2.82 ERA), the major league leader in strikeouts, starts the finale for Texas. … The previous earliest home start for the Rangers was two weeks ago, a 12:06 p.m. game vs. Oakland. … Both teams wore red jerseys. … Josh Hamilton had a pinch-hit double in the ninth to stretch his hitting streak to 13 games, a season best.
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