Rangers win 7th straight, rout AL-best Angels 12-3

September, 20, 2014
Sep 20
12:32
AM CT
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ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Ryan Rua had four hits, Jake Smolinski homered and the Texas Rangers beat the playoff-bound Los Angeles Angels 12-3 Friday night for their seventh straight victory.

Adrian Beltre had a two-run single and Lisalverto Bonilla pitched five solid innings for the Rangers, who still have the majors' worst record at 61-92 after their longest winning streak of the year.

Texas took a 10-0 lead in the fifth inning on the major league-leading Angels, who have lost two straight since clinching the AL West title on Wednesday with their 12th win in 14 games.

Los Angeles' lead over Baltimore for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs still stayed at 2 1-2 games with the Orioles' 5-3 loss to Boston.

Brennan Boesch hit a two-run homer for the Angels.


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W2W4: Rangers at Angels

September, 19, 2014
Sep 19
10:00
AM CT
The Rangers begin their final road series of the season, a three-game set against the Los Angeles Angels. The Rangers have struggled badly against the Angels this season, going 3-13.

Here’s a preview:

What’s up with the Angels? There’s little drama going on with the newly crowned AL West champions. However, RF Josh Hamilton has been shut down after dealing with sharp, stabbing pains in his chest and right rib cage. Hamilton’s status for the postseason is uncertain. No matter, the Angels are 2 games ahead of Baltimore for the best record in baseball and are assured of at least home-field advantage in the ALDS. Expect the Angels to sit their regulars in the final days of the regular season.

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What’s up with the Rangers? They’re playing spoiler and have won a season-high six consecutive games. During this stretch, the Rangers have messed up the playoff hopes of Atlanta and now Oakland, which is barely holding onto the second wild card spot in the AL. During this six-game win streak, opponents are hitting just .217 and the pitchers have a 2.00 ERA. In Thursday’s win over the Athletics, 3B Adrian Beltre became the all-time career hits leader for players from the Dominican Republic with 2,591.

The Battle for No. 1: The Rangers have a nice win streak going that is not only boosting confidence in the clubhouse, but could also help Tim Bogar's case to become the full-time manager next season. Despite their recent success, the Rangers still hold the worst record in baseball at 60-92, 2 games back of Arizona and Colorado (62-91).

The pitching matchups: Friday: RHP Lisalverto Bonilla (1-0, 4.66) vs. LHP Hector Santiago (5-8, 3.55). Saturday: Colby Lewis (10-13, 5.12) vs. RHP Jered Weaver (17-8, 3.50). Sunday: RHP Nick Tepesch (5-10, 4.47) vs. RHP Cory Rasmus (3-1, 2.57).

Five things we learned on Thursday

September, 19, 2014
Sep 19
1:25
AM CT
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Check out the latest standings, playoff odds and upcoming schedules at the world-famous Hunt for October page.

1. The Brewers can't catch a break. What started out as a solid pitching duel between current St. Louis Cardinals right-hander, Shelby Miller, and former Cardinal, Kyle Lohse, turned into a deflating loss for the Milwaukee Brewers in part to a wild eighth inning. The loss, in conjunction with St. Louis' victory, pushed Milwaukee six games behind in the NL Central, and with the Pirates' win (more on that in a bit), the Brewers dropped to 3 1/2 games out of a wild-card spot.

Miller entered the game having given up only three earned runs over his last 27 innings, spanning four starts. The 23-year-old had the hot hand early against the Brewers recording four outs within the first eight pitches he threw. Meanwhile, the young fireballer found himself trailing the veteran Lohse after a pair of errors (one of his own) put the Cardinals in a 2-0 hole.

Lohse carried that shutout into the eighth inning before being lifted for reliever Jonathon Broxton with one on and one out. Broxton promptly induced what looked to be an inning-ending double play. First baseman Mark Reynolds fielded the ground ball quickly, but he appeared to lose track of the outs in the inning. Instead of firing to second to start the twin killing, he nonchalantly strolled to first base for what he may have thought was the final out. In actuality, it was the second out of the inning and Kolten Wong advanced into scoring position. Broxton walked Matt Carpenter before surrendering an RBI-single to Jon Jay. It looked as if Broxton would escape without further damage when Matt Holliday was called out at first following a head-first slide, but the play was reversed after a lengthy replay. In a bit of controversy, Carpenter, who crossed home plate during the play, was ordered back to third. What happened next was finally the fault of Broxton. The burly right-hander walked the equally burly Matt Adams, bringing the tying run across the plate.

The Brewers had a chance to jump ahead in the top of the 11th, but Cards' reliever Carlos Martinez struck out Carlos Gomez with the bases loaded to end threat. After trading zeroes, the Cardinals finally completed the comeback when Tony Cruz singled home Adams for the walk-off win in the bottom of the 13th inning.

video 2. The A's situation keeps getting worse. Even with their recent free fall, the Oakland Athletics still hold the envious position of "controlling their own destiny." As a current holder of a wild-card spot, they simply need to win as many games as the team(s) chasing them. A three-game series at home against the Texas Rangers -- the worst team in the league -- seemed like just the thing Oakland needed to right the ship. Nope.

The Rangers, led by an interim manager, came to town with a record of 57-92. Naturally, Texas won the first two games of the series. After opening the set with a 6-3 victory, Texas pulled of a wild rally Wednesday. Down 1-0 in the ninth inning, the Rangers scored six in the top half of the inning to clinch the series.

Oakland sent All-Star Sonny Gray to the hill in the finale looking to avoid the sweep. But before the A's took their turn at bat, the Rangers put together five singles against Gray -- including four straight with two outs -- taking advantage of a passed ball en route to a four-run first inning. The A's briefly cut the lead in half before watching Texas run away with the 7-2 win to complete the sweep.

The loss dropped Oakland from their perch atop the wild-card race and into the second slot, a half-game behind the idle Kansas City Royals. With 10 games to go, the A's hold a one-game lead over the Seattle Mariners for the final spot after Seattle's victory over the Angels.

video 3. Pirates provide something unusual in win. The Pittsburgh Pirates opened play Thursday trailing the division leading St. Louis Cardinals by 2 1/2 games. They held the same lead over another division rival, the Milwaukee Brewers, in the race for a National League wild card. The Bucs sent Gerrit Cole to the mound against the Boston Red Sox hoping to advance -- or at least maintain -- their position in the standings.

Cole delivered his third straight win. The former first-round pick tossed seven strong innings, striking out seven and walking none. He is in firm control right now with 21 strikeouts and only one walk over his last three outings (19 innings).

The young right-hander received help from outfielder Starling Marte, who belted his 13th home run of the season and has been one of the league's best hitters in the second half. In fact, he is the only player with an OPS greater than 1.000 in the second half (minimum 150 plate appearances).

Closer Mark Melancon, facing his former team, made things interesting after a hit batter and a single set up first and third with no outs in a 3-2 game. What happened next is a "can't predict baseball" moment. With pinch-runner, Jemile Weeks, 90 feet from tying the game, Will Middlebrooks grounded a ball down the third-base line. The ball hit Weeks in fair territory -- resulting in an automatic out. Melancon struck out the next batter before inducing another ground ball out to seal the deal.

video 4. The Dodgers' offense showed some life. The Los Angeles Dodgers are clinging to a slim lead in the NL West. With the status of Hyun-Jin Ryu uncertain, and his fill-in (Carlos Frias) getting wacked, the Dodgers need strong a performance from the rest of their rotation. Zach Greinke did not have one of those against the Chicago Cubs, but his teammates let him off the hook. Greinke's evening got off to a rough start. Chicago started the game with a single, error, walk, single, and another single resulting in two runs before registering their first out. There would be a three-inning reprieve before the Cubs tacked on two more in the fifth on the strength of four consecutive base hits.

Luckily for Greinke and the Dodgers' faithful, the offense would soon wake up. Using five hits -- including two doubles -- and benefiting from an error, Los Angeles pushed five runs across the plate in the top of the seventh inning to take a 6-4 lead. A quartet of relievers worked the final four innings to cap off the 8-4 win that gives the Dodgers a 2 1/2 lead over the San Francisco Giants.

video 5. The D-Backs are playing their way down toward the top pick. Addison Reed is doing his best to improve the Arizona Diamondbacks' draft standing. The erstwhile closer gave up two runs to the San Francisco Giants in the top of the ninth Wednesday before serving up a two-run, two-out, walk-off home run to Wilin Rosario of the Colorado Rockies in the ninth inning Thursday night. The pair of losses dropped the Diamondbacks into a tie with the Rockies for the worst record in the NL, and they're now just a game behind the Rangers for the top spot in next year's draft.

Tommy Rancel blogs about the Tampa Bay Rays at the SweetSpot network affiliate The Process Report. You can follow him on Twitter at @TRancel.

Bring Back Rios?

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
11:31
PM CT


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The Baseball Tonight crew debates if the Rangers should bring back Alex Rios next season.
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Sonny Gray and the Oakland Athletics kept sliding, falling out of the top AL wild-card spot with a 7-2 loss to Texas on Thursday that gave the Rangers a three-game sweep.

The latest loss to the team with the worst record in the majors dropped the A's a half-game behind idle Kansas City for the first wild-spot slot. Oakland owned the best record in the big leagues as recently as Aug. 15.

Texas roughed up Gray (13-9) for four runs in the first inning and won its season-best sixth in a row.

Gray saw his winless stretch reach five starts. The right-hander in his first full major league season has only one victory in 10 starts since his 5-0 July that earned him AL pitcher of the month honors.

Nick Martinez (4-11) allowed two runs and three hits in 5 2/3 innings, handing Oakland its sixth loss in eight games.


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Pained Ron Washington trying to move on

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
3:00
PM CT
IRVING, Texas -- This isn't the Ron Washington we're used to seeing.

Normally the baseball lifer speaks in a rapid-fire tone with a carton of smokes sitting nearby. You see a can of air freshener behind him to cover the smell of cigarettes in a stadium that is supposed to be smoke-free.

Washington was everything the media and players loved: He was honest, carefree and educational about the game of baseball.

Thursday afternoon was different.

Washington said he violated the trust of his wife, Gerry, after 42 years of marriage. It's clear what Washington is talking about here, while not really saying the words.

“I was not true to my wife after 42 years,” Washington said. “I broke her trust. I’m here today to own that mistake and to apologize to her.”

It was too much for him to overcome. The shame he brought to his wife, himself and the Texas Rangers led him to leave his first managerial job. We might find out one day there's more to this story. But for now, all we have is the short statement made by Washington, who looked like a broken man.

Washington came out Thursday afternoon wearing a dark suit and read his statement in an address that lasted less than five minutes. He didn't take questions from reporters. When he was finished, he stepped down from the podium and, instead of flashing that wide smile we're used to seeing, he left with his head down.

Washington peered across the room briefly, perhaps in search of a friendly face. Gerry Washington was there for him as he left. She placed an arm around his waist and he put his arm over her shoulders and they walked away together.

"All I ask is for your forgiveness and your understanding,” Washington said. “I also ask that you respect our privacy as we go on with our lives. This matter is certainly personal, and we are trying hard to put it behind us.

"I was born to be a baseball player. I’m a baseball lifer. The Rangers gave me a home, and I’m thankful for that. And I’m also thankful for the experience to have the opportunity to manage here in Texas.”

Washington left the Rangers on Sept. 5 as the most successful manager in franchise history. There were two World Series appearances, more wins (664) than anybody else and three postseason appearances.

However, in 2009, Washington tested positive for cocaine and was subjected to random drug testing. Washington begged for forgiveness and offered to resign, but then-team president Nolan Ryan stuck with him, signing him to a two-year contract extension in 2012.

The Rangers' front office wanted Washington to return in 2015 with the expectation the club would return to playoff form. Washington was excited about 2015 and talked about several players bouncing back from injuries.

That's not happening now.

Washington will get another job somewhere -- he's too good of a baseball man -- but that's farther down the line.

"Today, I’m at a very low time in my life," Washington said. "I’m sorry for breaking the trust that I had with my wife and disappointing my players, disappointing my coaches, disappointing Major League Baseball and disappointing the Texas Rangers."

Ron Washington explains resignation

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
1:38
PM CT
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IRVING, Texas -- Former Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington said Thursday that he resigned earlier this month because he was "not true to my wife."

"I was not true to my wife, after 42 years," Washington said as his wife, Gerry, sat nearby during the news conference. "I broke her trust. I'm here today to own that mistake and apologize to her, and to those I disappointed, and those who have trusted in me, and I let them down.

"... Today, I'm at a very low time in my life. I'm sorry for breaking the trust that I had with my wife and for disappointing my players, for disappointing my coaches, disappointing Major League Baseball and for disappointing the Texas Rangers."

After making his statement, Washington stepped off a small stage and put his arm around his wife's shoulder, and she put her arm around his waist as they walked off together.

Citing personal reasons, Washington stunned the Rangers with his resignation Sept. 5. At the time, club officials said they had known for weeks that Washington was dealing with a personal matter but didn't disclose what the issues were.

After discussing all sorts of scenarios regarding whether he could remain with the club or not, Washington determined it was best to leave.

"All I ask is for your forgiveness and your understanding," Washington said Thursday. "I also ask that you respect our privacy as we go on with our lives. This matter is certainly personal and we are trying hard to put it behind us.

"I was born to be a baseball player. I'm a baseball lifer. The Rangers gave me a home, and I'm thankful for that. And I'm also thankful for the experience to have the opportunity to manage here in Texas."


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Rangers scouting Cuban OF Yasmani Tomas

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
1:00
PM CT
The Texas Rangers will be among several, if not all, major league teams watching the workout of Cuban defector Yasmani Tomas in the Dominican Republic this weekend.

With the Rangers in need of a right fielder if they don't pick up Alex Rios' $13 million team option for 2015, Tomas could be a fit for the future.

Tomas, 23, was recently cleared for employment by the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets and Control.

According to Baseball America, during the 2012-13 Serie Nacional regular season, Tomas had a slash line of .289/.364/.538 with 15 home runs and 34 walks in 81 games. He ranked fifth in slugging and sixth in home runs. In the 2013-14 season, his numbers slipped to .290/.346/.450 with just six home runs and 46 strikeouts in 257 plate appearances.

Baseball America reported Tomas injured a shoulder during the season after crashing into a wall.

Ron Washington to issue statement today

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
12:30
PM CT
DALLAS -- Former Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington, who stunned the club with his resignation Sept. 5 citing personal reasons, will issue a statement Thursday afternoon regarding his departure.

Club officials said they've known for weeks that Washington was dealing with a personal matter, but they have not disclosed what the issue was. Rangers officials previously stated that Washington's resignation was not drug-related.

Several players have reached out to Washington since his departure, including third baseman Adrian Beltre, who wouldn't reveal the details of that conversation.

Rangers pitcher Derek Holland has a picture of Washington taped to his locker at Globe Life Park.

The 62-year-old Washington had a 664-611 record in his eight seasons with the Rangers, guiding the franchise to its first two World Series appearances (2010, '11). He is the franchise's leader in regular-season wins and games managed and had an 18-16 record in three postseason appearances.

In 2009, Washington tested positive for cocaine and was subjected to random drug testing. Washington begged for forgiveness and even offered to resign, but then-team president Nolan Ryan stuck by Washington, signing him to a two-year contract extension in 2012.

As a player, Washington was a skinny middle infielder who had more than twice as many games in the minors than the majors in 20 seasons as a pro. He then spent four years as a minor league coach and then 11 seasons as an assistant in Oakland, the last 10 as the third-base coach before the Rangers hired him after the '06 season.

Following his resignation, Washington was replaced by the Rangers with Tim Bogar on an interim basis.

After a 1-5 start, the Rangers are now 6-5 under Bogar after five straight wins. The club is currently in Oakland in the middle of a six-game road trip.

Bogar will be given an opportunity to interview for the full-time position once the season is over. Rangers pitching coach Mike Maddux is also under consideration to replace Washington.

A's fall to Rangers to hand Angels the AL West title

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
1:04
AM CT

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Sean Doolittle allowed a three-run homer to J.P. Arencibia during a six-run ninth inning, and the Oakland Athletics lost 6-1 to the last-place Texas Rangers on Wednesday night.

It was the fourth blown save in 25 chances for Doolittle (1-4) this season.

The bearded closer's meltdown on the mound negated a stellar start by Jeff Samardzija and ended Oakland's two-year reign as AL West champions. The Los Angeles Angels clinched the division with a 5-0 win over Seattle and the loss by the A's.

Oakland dropped into a tie with Kansas City for the AL's top wild card. Seattle is two games behind the A's and Royals for the second and final berth.

Sam Fuld's single in the fifth drove in Oakland's only run. Robbie Ross (3-6) got the final five outs for the win.


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Kazmir, sloppy Athletics lose 6-3 to Rangers

September, 17, 2014
Sep 17
12:15
AM CT

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Scott Kazmir allowed a two-run homer to Jake Smolinski, and shortstop Jed Lowrie made an error that led to a pair of unearned runs as the Oakland Athletics lost 6-3 to the last-place Texas Rangers on Tuesday night.

After strengthening their AL wild-card lead by beating Seattle in the final two games of a weekend series, the A's looked sloppy in the opener of a nine-game homestand and failed in their attempt to win three straight for the first time since Aug. 7-9.

Oakland made two errors, threw two wild pitches and got another rough outing from Kazmir (14-9) to lose for the 15th time in 22 games. The A's remained one game ahead of Kansas City for the top wild-card spot. Seattle entered the day two games behind the Royals for the second berth.


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Shin-Soo Choo to have ankle surgery

September, 16, 2014
Sep 16
5:15
PM CT

Texas Rangers left fielder Shin-Soo Choo will undergo surgery Wednesday on his left ankle for a cartilage tear.

Choo has said for the majority of the season he didn't need surgery, but after further evaluations it was determined he needed a procedure.

Choo underwent minor surgery on Aug. 29 to remove a bone spur in his left elbow, ending his season. Choo said he was dealing with the elbow problem since the start of the season. He injured his ankle during a game in April and said he should have gone on the disabled list then.

He tried to play through the elbow and ankle injuries and his play suffered.

Choo, in 123 games, had a slash line of .242/.340./.374. Choo's batting average, on base percentage and slugging percentage are below his career average. After his ankle surgery, Choo can begin running in six-to-eight weeks.


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Beltre nominated for Clemente Award

September, 16, 2014
Sep 16
1:15
PM CT
Third baseman Adrian Beltre is the Texas Rangers' nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award.

The award recognizes a player who represents the game through positive contributions on and off the field.

Wednesday is the 13th annual Roberto Clemente Day. Teams playing in their home parks will recognize their local nominees while the visiting teams will do so when they return home. In the Rangers' case, Beltre will be honored during the last homestand of the season, which starts Sept. 22.

As part of the celebration, a Roberto Clemente Day logo will be on the bases and the lineup cards in the dugout.

The Hall of Fame outfielder was a 15-time All-Star who died in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve in 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

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TEAM LEADERS

WINS LEADER
Colby Lewis
WINS ERA SO IP
10 5.12 123 158
OTHER LEADERS
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 18
RBIA. Beltre 73
RA. Beltre 77
OPSA. Beltre .876
ERAC. Lewis 5.12
SOY. Darvish 182