BY: Richard W. Humphrey
Texas lost to Kansas City Friday night 2-1, while the Rays and Cleveland won. That dropped the Rangers into third place in the Wild Card race. Tampa Bay took the lead with a 5-4 win over Baltimore in 18 innings. Cleveland beat Houston 2-1 in a game shortened by rain to seven innings. The Rays now hold a one-half game lead over the Indians. The Tribe and Rangers have the same number of losses (70), but Cleveland has one more win to lead Texas by one-half game. Kansas City pulled even with Baltimore with the win over Texas and trails Cleveland by 2.5 games (two in the loss column) for the second Wild Card playoff berth.
The Rangers are all but eliminated for the West Division championship. Oakland routed Minnesota 11-0 to extend their lead over Texas to 7.5 games, the biggest deficit the Rangers have faced all season. Oakland’s magic number is down to two, which means the only way Texas can win the West without a playoff is for the Rangers to win all nine of their remaining games while the Athletics lose all eight of theirs.
Friday night was more of the futile offense that has characterized the Rangers’ September collapse. Adrian Beltre led off the second inning with a single. A. J. Pierzynski followed with a monstrous double off the wall that scored Beltre. That was it as far as scoreboard damage, as the Rangers collected just three more hits in the game.
Martin Perez wasn’t sharp, but he effectively struggled through 5-2/3rds innings allowing one run on seven hits for a no decision. Jason Frasor (4-3) took the loss in relief. He appeared to be breezing through the eighth inning as he struck out Billy Butler and Salvador Perez to open the frame. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases and ended Frasor’s night. Neftali Feliz came on to walk in the winning run on four pitches.
Texas went quietly in the ninth with two strikeouts and a fly ball to left to end the game.
The series continues Saturday night with a 6:10 start time. Matt Garza (3-5, 4.94 for the Rangers) faces Jeremy Guthrie (14-11, 4.08).
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