(Sports Network) - The Texas Rangers are catching breaks and taking care of
their own business as well in a pursuit for a postseason spot.
The Rangers will try to remain in the hunt Saturday afternoon in the
continuation of a four-game series versus the LA Angels of Anaheim at the
Ballpark in Arlington. Saturday's game was originally scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
CT, but a threat of inclement weather forced officials to move the start time
of the third portion of this set.
"With the possibility of heavy rain affecting Saturday night's game, we feel
it is prudent to start earlier in the day," said Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan in a
statement Friday. "We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause for our
fans, but we believe this is the best alternative given the circumstances and
the fact it is the last weekend of the regular season."
Texas won its fifth straight game Friday by recording a 5-3 decision over the
Angels and used a big seventh inning to stay on top for good. Alex Rios and
A.J. Pierzynski both came through with RBI singles in the frame and finished
with two RBI apiece. The Rangers are one game behind Cleveland and Tampa Bay
for the AL wild card lead. They went 1-5 against the Indians this season, but
took four of seven meetings with the Rays.
"We're excited to be where we are. We still have a chance. It would be
different if we did, but all you can do is stay focused. We're playing a very
good ballclub and we have to keep our game elevated. If not we'll be looking
in," said Rangers manager Ron Washington.
Neal Cotts picked up the win with a scoreless seventh inning and Joe Nathan
earned his 42nd save with a flawless ninth. Alexi Ogando started for Texas and
allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings.
The Rangers have won five in a row at home and six in a row versus the Angels
in Arlington. Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus has now hit safely in 14
consecutive games against the Angels after going 2-for-4.
Each of the next two games for the Rangers are a must-win and starter Derek
Holland looks to do his part in the playoff chase when he takes the mound
Saturday. Holland has a 10-9 record in 32 starts with a 3.33 earned run
average and was 0-3 in his previous eight appearances, then hurled a shutout
against Houston on Monday, when he scattered six hits, struck out nine batters
and walked one in a 12-0 victory.
Holland, a left-hander, is 3-6 in 15 home starts and 7-6 with a 5.81 ERA in 20
career matchups (17 starts) with the Angels. In four starts against Anaheim
this season, Holland sports an 0-1 mark and 6.66 ERA.
The Angels will try again to spoil the Rangers' fun and have dropped two in a
row following wins in 11 of the previous 15 games.
J.C. Gutierrez gave up both runs in the seventh inning on Friday to take the
loss and came on in relief of starter C.J. Wilson, who was reached for three
runs in six innings in the no-decision. He walked four and struck out six.
"I just thought C.J. was off all night," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.
"He was behind every count. It was just a struggle for C.J. Still he got
through six innings giving us a chance, he just wasn't sharp out there."
Former Ranger Josh Hamilton knocked in two runs, while Kole Calhoun and Andrew
Romine combined for four hits, three runs scored and an RBI in defeat.
Hamilton recorded the 1,000th hit of his career.
Garrett Richards will take the mound for the Halos Saturday in hopes of
slowing down a determined Rangers squad. Richards lost his last time out in a
10-5 defeat versus Oakland on Monday, as he yielded seven runs and eight hits
in 4 2/3 innings. He entered that start 3-0 in his past four outings.
Richards is 7-7 with a 4.09 ERA in 46 games, 16 of which have been starts,
this season and 2-0 with a 4.33 ERA in nine career games (5 starts) against
the Rangers. The right-hander has faced Texas four times (2 starts) this
season, going 1-0 to go along with a 3.07 ERA.
Texas is 13-4 versus the Angels this season.
The Sports Network