Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Sports

Rangers 7, Angels 4

ARLINGTON, Texas — Joe Nathan feels as if the Rangers have been playing elimination games for a week.

Now they are down to the regular season's scheduled finale, still with a chance to get into the playoffs for the fourth year in a row.

A rain-drenched Nathan struck out Howie Kendrick with two runners on and the infield flooding to close out Texas' sixth straight victory and second in less than 24 hours, 7-4 over the sloppy Angels on Saturday.

"It doesn't change what we need to do, we need to come in and win a game" today, Nathan said. "We don't want to have to rely on somebody to help us all the time."

They did get some help Saturday when the Rays lost at Toronto, dropping them into a tie with the Rangers for the AL's second wild-card spot. The Indians won their ninth in a row, beating Minnesota to hold the top wild card by a game and ensure they will play past today.

The Rangers trailed only three batters in, but the Angels made five errors in a game for the first time since Sept. 16, 2006, also at Texas. Shortstop Erick Aybar, rightfielder Kole Calhoun, leftfielder Collin Cowgill, pitcher Garrett Richards and third baseman Andrew Romine had the miscues.

Texas got even with a gift run in the first on a grounder through Romine's legs. The Angels then made two more errors, and Richards threw a wild pitch in the second when the Rangers went ahead for good with four runs, three of them unearned.

"You can't sugar-coat the way we played defense. It was just brutal. They were silly mistakes, and it cost us. That's the story of (Saturday) afternoon," manager Mike Scioscia said. "Texas made four errors in one inning and overcame it."

The Rangers opened the series with that four-error inning Thursday but won on rookie Jurickson Profar's game-ending homer. Nathan was the winner after pitching the ninth of that game and saved the last two.

With 43 saves in 46 chances, Nathan said he is ready to go again if needed.

If the Rangers win the final game today, they will be guaranteed at least a wild-card tiebreaker.

The 11:07 a.m. start was the earliest home game in the 42 seasons the Rangers have played in Texas. The game was moved up eight hours because of the threat of bad weather and was played mostly under overcast skies.

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