ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) The Texas Rangers are back to .500 with a month to go in the regular season, and still fighting to get one of the American League’s two wild cards.
”Our guys continue to grind, that’s who they are, that’s their DNA,” manager Jeff Banister said after a 7-6 victory Sunday over the Los Angeles Angels. ”Doesn’t always look pretty at times. However, they find a way to get things done.”
Elvis Andrus hit two of the four homers by the Rangers, who held on in another long game against their AL West rival and fellow wild-card chaser. Los Angeles scored three times in the ninth before the nearly four-hour game ended on a grounder with the bases still loaded.
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”We’re not going to give up,” Andrus said. ”We’re going to keep battling here through the tough times, that’s what’s happening right now.”
The Rangers (68-68) went ahead to stay when Robinson Chirinos and Delino DeShields hit back-to-back homers in the fourth off Andrew Heaney (1-1), who gave up a solo homer to Andrus an inning earlier. No. 9 hitter Chirinos’ two-run homer tied the game at 4 before DeShields went deep.
Andrus’ two-run homer in the sixth, his 18th, proved to be the difference in the game.
Texas, without injured third baseman Adrian Beltre, moved within three games of Minnesota for the AL’s second wild-card spot. The Angels (70-67) are 1 1/2 games back of that playoff spot.
Heaney, coming off 10 strikeouts in his last start, has allowed 11 homers in 19 1-3 innings over four games since getting called up last month.
”He didn’t have as crisp of command … certainly with his breaking ball,” manager Mike Scioscia said. ”He just didn’t have a chance to bring that good mix that he had last time in.”
Martin Perez (11-10) threw a career-high 117 pitches over six innings to win his sixth straight start.
Tony Barnette earned his second save in six chances after coming on with two on and no outs in the ninth. Barnette gave a two-run double to Andrelton Simmons after getting Albert Pujols on a popout with the bases loaded, and before a walk forced in another run .
”Going through that part of the order you’ve got guys that can do damage throughout,” Barnette said. ”At the end of the day we got to the end and that’s all that matters right now.”
LONG, LONG TIME
The game took 3 hours, 49 minutes to play, the shortest of the series that had a combined playing time of 12 hours, 31 minutes. The opener Friday took 4 hours, 33 minutes – the longest nine-inning game in the history of both franchises. The 10-inning game Saturday took 4 hours, 9 minutes.
GONE THIS TIME
Rangers CF Carlos Gomez was ejected by home plate umpire Mike Estabrook after a disputed called third strike in the third. Gomez said something and then slammed his bat to the ground. Estabrook was at first base Saturday night when he called a strike on a checked swing by Gomez, who expressed his displeasure then without being tossed.
Pujols drove in a run with a single in the fifth, for his 90th RBI this season. It his 16th season with 90 RBIs, matching Hank Aaron for the most in MLB history. … Mike Trout has walked in 11 consecutive games, a career high and two games shy of the Angels franchise record.
Angels: Closer Bud Norris (sore right knee) is eligible to be activated from the disabled list Wednesday. The right-hander expects to be ready to pitch then.
Rangers: Beltre, who strained his left hamstring Thursday, was placed on the 10-day disabled list. Even though the rosters have been expanded, that move had to be made to allow the recall of RHP Nick Gardewine from Double-A Frisco since it had been less than 10 days since the pitcher was sent down from an early stint with the Rangers.
Angels: Back to the West Coast, and a day game Monday at Oakland in a series opener.
Rangers: A holiday reunion with former manager Ron Washington, who is Atlanta’s third base coach. The Rangers open a three-game interleague series at Atlanta on Monday night.
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