ARLINGTON, Texas — The Rangers had to keep winning to keep playing. After seven wins in a row, they have to do it one more time to get into the playoffs.
Craig Gentry had a two-run single, Geovany Soto had a tiebreaking double and a solo homer and Texas beat the Angels 6-2 Sunday to force a one-game tiebreaker tonight against the Rays for the second AL wild-card spot.
"They showed heart, fight, guts — any other adjective you want to find," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
The Rangers, who began September with the AL West lead before a 5-15 slide, added game No. 163.
"You can't say enough. Just the fight, the character of this team," Gentry said. "From being about as low as we could possibly be and almost everybody probably counting us out, and to come home and play the way we have."
About the same time the Rays wrapped up a 7-6 win at Toronto to necessitate a victory by the Rangers, Gentry hit a two-run single in the fifth for a 2-1 lead.
Los Angeles tied it in the sixth against major-league strikeout leader Yu Darvish, but the Rangers went ahead to stay in the bottom half on Soto's two-out double.
Adrian Beltre and Soto added solo homers in the eighth. It was Beltre's 30th and the ninth for Soto, who has become Darvish's primary catcher.
Texas has been in the playoffs the past three seasons, last year losing at home to the Orioles with Darvish on the mound in the AL's first one-and-done wild-card game.
The Angels (78-84) finished with a losing record for only the second time in 10 seasons after being swept in a four-game series at Texas for the first time since June 1978.
"You have to tip your cap to those guys. They played well and stayed alive," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Our guys played as well as they could. It would have been nice to come in here and get some wins. … I'm disappointed, but there's nothing to be ashamed about the way we went after them."