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Rangers keep pace in wild card

Texas Rangers center fielder Leonys Martin
Rangers CF Leonys Martin smacks a three-run double in the fourth inning.
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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)

Houston Astros manager Bo Porter will have to go through a lot of losses when he sits down this offseason and re-watches every game his team played.

The Astros set a franchise record with their 108th defeat by dropping their 12th in a row Wednesday night, 7-3 to the playoff-chasing Texas Rangers.

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''It's one of those things where we want to win, but we have to take account of what we've done,'' Porter said. ''Nobody's going to feel sorry for us.''

Houston tied the 2001-03 Detroit Tigers for the fifth-most losses over a three-year span at 321, according to STATS. They trail only the 1962-64 New York Mets (340), the 1963-65 Mets (332), the 1915-17 Philadelphia Athletics (324) and the 1940-42 Phillies (323).

''It's not fun at all. We go out there and want to win, but it's not happening. We're going to have to fix things and come back stronger next year,'' center fielder Brandon Barnes said. ''I believe in the guys in this clubhouse, and there are guys coming up who can do the job.''

After a day off Thursday, the Astros complete their season with three games at home this weekend against the New York Yankees.

Porter was announced the new Astros manager during the last week of the 2012 season. In the months after that, he watched every game the team played while losing 107.

Before Wednesday's game, the 41-year-old Porter said he planned to do the same thing this winter — this time with notes he's taken throughout his first season as a manager. He plans to evaluate some of the decisions he made and take a closer look at his players.

Leonys Martin hit a three-run double, Ian Kinsler homered and the Rangers completed a three-game sweep and finished 17-2 with 11 straight wins against their instate rival. Rookie left-hander Martin Perez (10-5) struck out eight over seven innings.

The Rangers remained a game behind Cleveland for the AL's second wild-card spot — Tampa Bay is a game ahead of the Indians. Texas has four games left in the regular season, with the series opener at home against the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night.

''We put ourselves in this position. We have to win the games, we've got to get help from someone else,'' Kinsler said. ''The best we can do is win four more games.''

The Rangers' 17 wins are the most Texas has ever had against a team in the same season, and Cleveland won its 17th against the White Sox on Wednesday night. The last team with 17 wins against another opponent before that was Oakland over Seattle in 2006.

Houston finished with a 27-54 record on the road, still its most wins away from home since 2010.

Ten of the first 11 outs by Texas came on groundballs against Dallas Keuchel (6-10), one of the majors' best with a 2-1/2-to-1 ratio of groundballs to flyballs.

In the Rangers third, Craig Gentry reached on a throwing error by shortstop Jonathan Villar. After a stolen base and a wild pitch, Gentry scored when Elvis Andrus hit what could have been an inning-ending double play grounder. But the ball slipped out of second baseman Jose Altuve's hand when he tried to make the relay throw to first.

Altuve, whose 39 hits in September are most in the majors, opened the Astros fourth with a double off the left-field wall and scored on a single by Chris Carter. Brandon Laird's two-run homer made it 3-1.

Keuchel got the first two outs of the fourth on grounders before the Rangers loaded the bases on Jeff Baker's single, a walk and a hit batsman. Martin cleared the bases with a double to right.

''It's disappointing from my aspect,'' Keuchel said. ''Especially when we just put a three-spot up on the board.''

NOTES: Houston had 12 strikeouts in the game, increasing its franchise-record season total to 1,504. That is 25 shy of the major league record set by Arizona in 2010. . . . The Astros also had a 12-game losing streak last year.

Tagged: Rangers, Astros, Ian Kinsler

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