The Texas Rangers are nothing if not dramatic. On Saturday afternoon, they kept their playoff hopes alive with a 7-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to get into a tie in the AL Wild Card race.
Ian Kinsler started things off for Texas in the bottom of the first by crossing the plate on an Angels error, tying the game at 1-1. Then the Rangers went to work in the fourth. Kinsler reaches on another error, this time a throwing error by Garrett Richards. Elvis Andrus then singled, scoring David Murphy and sending Kinsler to third. Alex Rios then plated him with a sac fly to center. A wild pitch from Richards allowed Andrus to cross the plate. Two innings in, and the Rangers had posted a 5-1 lead.
After Mike Trout hit a sac fly in the top of the third, the Angels tried get a rally started in the fifth. Back-to-back base hits from Andrew Romine and Erick Aybar led off the inning. Collin Cowgill grounded out, but Romine was able to score. Howie Kendrick then doubled into right field to score Aybar. It pulled the Angels within a run, and also ended the afternoon for Rangers starter Derek Holland.
The Rangers would tack on two more in the bottom of the fifth, getting RBI singles from AJ Pierzynski and Craig Gentry. It would give them the eventual 7-4 win, and put them in a position they know all too well -- fighting for the AL Wild Card on the last day of the season.
Holland left after 4 and 2/3 innings, leaving him short of being eligible for a win. He was credited for four runs on eight hits, and stuck out eight batters. The win goes to Joakim Soria, who came on in the fifth to pull Holland out of a potential jam. Joe Nathan picks up his 43rd save of the year. Garrett Richards takes the loss for the Angels, getting tagged for six runs (three earned) on six hits and giving up a walk.
The game itself had to be moved up to an early day start, after the threat of bad weather caused concerns. Officials didn't want a postponed game this close to the end of the season, so the call was made to move the game up a few hours to get it out of the way in case any rain moved through the area.
So that said, that sets the stage for the climatic final day of baseball.And for the Rangers, another season that comes down to that last game. The Rangers will give the ball to Yu Darvish (13-9, 2.82 ERA) as he faces Jason Vargas (9-7, 4.01 ERA) and the Angels. Vargas makes his final start before free agency, and shut out Oakland back on Tuesday. Darvish has had his struggles lately, but has yet to lose a game against the Angels this season. First pitch at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is set for 2:05 P.M. Central on Fox Sports Southwest.
Texas is now tied with Tampa Bay for the final Wild Card spot in the American League. Can the Rangers pull off the miracle and get into the Wild Card play-in game, or will the door be slammed on yet another playoff dream?