The Texas Rangers had a golden opportunity to climb within one-half game of the Los Angeles Angels in the American League wild-card race on Saturday but squandered it. Texas looks to avoid falling further behind in the chase when it hosts Los Angeles on Sunday for the rubber match of their three-game series.
The Rangers were one out away from a 4-2 victory in the middle contest of the set, but the Angels rallied to tie it before scoring three runs in the 10th inning to push the host team four games behind Minnesota for the second wild-card spot. Los Angeles remained 1 1/2 games back as it registered its fourth win in five contests. C.J. Cron belted a game-tying two-run homer in the ninth and lifted a sacrifice fly a frame later, giving him five RBIs over the first two games of the series. Albert Pujols, who is ranked 10th in RBIs by MLB.com and ninth by the Elias Sports Bureau due to the fact the stat did not become official until 1920, drove in a pair of runs Saturday to raise his career total to 1,906 - with 10 coming in his last three contests.
TV: 3:05 p.m. ET, FSN West (Los Angeles), FSN Southwest (Texas)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Angels LH Andrew Heaney (1-0, 5.63 ERA) vs. Rangers LH Martin Perez (10-10, 4.89)
Heaney is coming off the best of his three starts this season, a victory over Oakland on Monday in which he allowed one run and two hits while registering a career-high 10 strikeouts over six innings. The 26-year-old native of Oklahoma, who underwent Tommy John surgery last year, worked five frames in each of his first two turns in 2017 and escaped with no-decisions after surrendering nine runs and 15 hits - almost half of which were homers (seven). One of those outings was against Texas on Aug. 23, when he yielded four runs and eight hits but remained at 1-1 lifetime versus the club.
Perez won his fifth consecutive start on Tuesday as he gave up two runs and eight hits in seven innings against Houston in St. Petersburg, Fla. The 26-year-old Venezuelan was even better in his previous outing on Aug. 24, when he scattered seven hits over seven scoreless frames in a road victory over the Angels. The triumph evened Perez’s season record against Los Angeles at 1-1 and improved his career mark to 3-4 in 11 appearances (10 starts).
1. Rangers 3B Joey Gallo has gone deep twice in his last five games and shares the AL lead of 37 homers with New York’s Aaron Judge and Oakland’s Khris Davis.
2. Los Angeles LF Justin Upton has gone 3-for-9 in two games since being acquired from Detroit while 2B Brandon Phillips is just 1-for-10 since being obtained from Atlanta on the same day.
3. Texas RHP Miguel Gonzalez joined the team Saturday, two days after being acquired from the Chicago White Sox, and may start Tuesday at Atlanta.
PREDICTION: Rangers 6, Angels 2