The Texas Rangers attempt to surpass the .500 mark and further tangle a jammed wild-card race when they host the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday for the middle contest of their three-game set. Texas evened its record after 134 games and pulled within three of Minnesota for the second wild card in the American League by outlasting Los Angeles 10-9 in Friday’s series opener.
The Rangers had seven of their 11 hits go for extra bases, with every starter in the lineup notching at least one hit as they squandered 6-2 and 9-4 leads before emerging victorious. Joey Gallo belted a solo homer while filling in at third base for the injured Adrian Beltre, who will miss at least four weeks with a strained left hamstring suffered Thursday against Houston. Los Angeles remained 1 1/2 games behind Minnesota as it had its three-game winning streak halted. Albert Pujols went 4-for-5 and drove in four runs, allowing him to pass Willie Mays for ninth place on the all-time RBI list with 1,904.
TV: 7:15 p.m. ET, FS1
PITCHING MATCHUP: Angels RH Ricky Nolasco (6-12, 5.09 ERA) vs. Rangers RH A.J. Griffin (6-5, 5.26)
Nolasco finished the month of August unbeaten in six starts, going 2-0 with a 5.17 ERA after escaping with a no-decision against Houston on Sunday after yielding four runs in six innings. The streak has come after the 34-year-old Californian went 0-3 with an 8.38 ERA over his final four outings in July. Nolasco struggled in his first two turns against Texas this season, surrendering 13 runs and 15 hits over 6 2/3 frames in a pair of losses, and managed to allow just one run in a no-decision on Aug. 22 after giving up five hits and three walks over 4 2/3 innings.
Griffin allowed three runs in each of his last two starts but was saddled with the loss in both, including at Oakland on Sunday after yielding five hits - two homers - and three walks in 3 1/3 innings. The 29-year-old, who also hails from the Golden State, has worked more than five frames just once in five outings since returning from an intercostal strain that sidelined him for more than two months. Griffin improved to 4-2 in nine career starts against the Angels on April 12, when he gave up three runs in six innings at Los Angeles.
1. Rangers SS Elvis Andrus led the majors with 13 doubles in August, the most in one month in team history since Mark DeRosa recorded 13 in May 2006.
2. Texas activated LHP Jake Diekman (colitis) from the 60-day disabled list and recalled 3B Will Middlebrooks, RHP Paolo Espino and C A.J. Jimenez from Triple-A Round Rock on Friday.
3. Los Angeles purchased the contract of LHP Jason Gurka and recalled C Carlos Perez, SS Nolan Fontana and RHP Noe Ramirez from Triple-A Salt Lake.
PREDICTION: Angels 6, Rangers 4