Kinsler reaches rare mark in Rangers win
Ian Kinsler set a lofty goal for himself because he wanted to do his part to help the Texas Rangers become a playoff team.
He reached his personal target as he became the third second baseman in major league history with 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases, leading the Rangers past the Tampa Bay Rays 8-3 on Friday night.
"I said in spring training that I felt if I could go 30-30, I could help the team significantly," said Kinsler, who hit his 30th home run in the eighth inning. "Obviously we're struggling to get into the playoffs, but we've had a real good year to this point. I think the 30 steals and 30 homers helped us win some games."
With the victory, the Rangers clung to their slim hopes of making the playoffs for the first time since 1999.
The Rangers, who have nine games remaining, trail Los Angeles by six games in the AL West. The Angels, whose magic number held at four, lost 3-0 at Oakland on Friday.
Texas moved within seven games of Boston, which lost 9-5 to the New York Yankees on Friday, in the wild card.
"We're just trying to win as many as we can and see where we're at," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "I loved our effort."
Alfonso Soriano, who has reached 30-30 three times, and Brandon Phillips are the other second basemen who have accomplished the milestone.
His three-run blast, which was his first in 20 games, gave the Rangers an 8-3 lead. Kinsler stole his 30th base Thursday against Oakland.
"Everybody wanted me to get it out of the way," Kinsler said. "I've been sitting on 29 for half a month now. It took a little while."
Julio Borbon had three hits and Chris Davis homered for the Rangers. Texas rookie Derek Holland (8-12) gave up three runs over five innings to snap a five-game losing streak.
Texas slugger Josh Hamilton was back in the lineup after missing 19 games because of a pinched nerve in his back. He was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and had an RBI on a fielder's choice.
"He hadn't seen a live arm in a while so I expected (him to struggle)," Washington said. "He'll pull it back together."
Gabe Kapler homered for Tampa Bay, which had won six of 10 since losing 11 straight earlier this month.
James Shields (10-12) allowed five runs and seven hits in seven innings. The right-hander struck out seven.
The loss means Shields, who most likely has only one start left, will probably have a losing season after he was Tampa Bay's top pitcher during its trip to the World Series in 2008.
"It's been a frustrating year for sure," Shields said. "You just tell yourself to move on. I hope to end the season on a good note."
Borbon and Elvis Andrus led off the bottom of the first with singles. Marlon Byrd lined a two-run double to put the Rangers ahead 2-0.
Chris Davis drove his 20th home run into the upper deck in right off Shields, who has yielded 28 long balls this season.
The Rays scored three runs to tie the game in third.
Kapler led off with a home run, and Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist had two-out RBI singles. Holland got out of further trouble when he struck out Pat Burrell to end the third.
Holland, who had a 12.38 ERA during his five-game slide, got some help from his bullpen as four relievers allowed one hit in four shutout innings.
"It feels good," Holland said. "There were a couple things I was disappointed with. But you've got to stay positive."
The Rangers took the lead for good in the fourth when Kinsler scored on Ivan Rodriguez's double-play grounder.
Texas added a run in the fifth when Borbon singled, stole second and advanced to third on a sacrifice. Hamilton hit a chopper to first that the speedy Borbon scored on, beating a throw home from first baseman Willy Aybar.
NOTES: Rays manager Joe Maddon said LHP J.P. Howell has been shut down for the rest of the season. "The last few years, he's thrown more relief innings than any pitcher in baseball and there's nothing positive to be derived from having him pitch for the last 10 games, so we decided to shut him down," Maddon said. ... Holland's last victory before Friday was Aug. 20 against Minnesota. ... Texas improved to 47-32 at home.