Rapid Reaction: Rangers 12, Astros 0
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers outfielder Alex Rios hit for the cycle -- one of many highlights as the Rangers pounded the Houston Astros 12-0 on Monday night.
The Rangers moved to within a game of Cleveland for the second wild-card spot. Texas is two games back of Tampa Bay with six games left for the first wild card after the Rays had another walk-off win, their second in four games against Baltimore.
Rios goes for cycle: Rios became the eighth Rangers player to hit for the cycle on Monday night. His triple in the bottom of the sixth to score Elvis Andrus completed the cycle. Rios set himself up for Monday's feat with a home run in the fourth inning off David Martinez to leave himself a triple short. Rios had a two-run double in the first inning and a single to lead off the third inning. He is the third American League player to hit for the cycle this season. Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angels did it on May 21 against Seattle and Houston's Brandon Barnes had one on July 19, also against the Mariners.
Early lead: The Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Ian Kinsler had a leadoff single. Andrus followed with a single up the middle that moved Kinsler to third. Andrus moved up to second on a throw to third, setting up Rios, who had doubled into the left-field corner.
Breaking it open: The Rangers took advantage of two walks in the bottom of the third. David Murphy drew a walk with the bases loaded for a 4-0 lead. Leoyns Martin then broke the game open with a three-run double to center field for a 7-0 lead.
Holland deals: Derek Holland continued his upswing and finally won his 10th game in his ninth attempt. Holland hadn't won since Aug. 4 against Oakland; he's had three losses since then. Holland allowed six hits in nine innings for his second complete-game shutout of the season. Holland also had a 2-0 complete-game win at New York against the Yankees on June 27. His toughest inning was the top of the third, when he allowed leadoff singles to Trevor Crowe and Carlos Corporan with the Rangers leading 3-0. Holland fought back to retire the next three batters, ending the inning when Jose Altuve popped out to shortstop.
Finally a win at home: The Rangers won at home for the first time in September. They had a seven-game losing streak at Rangers Ballpark before Monday night's blowout. Texas improved its home record to 40-35 with six games left at Rangers Ballpark.
Up next: The Rangers go for a two-game winning streak on Tuesday night with right-hander Yu Darvish (13-9, 2.81 ERA) facing Astros righty Brad Peacock (5-5, 5.24) at 7:05 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.