While the Blue Jays and Cubs have received much of the national spotlight over the last few weeks for their great play in August, the Rangers have not been far behind. Over the last 30 games, the Jays are 23-7 but the Rangers are tied with the Royals for second in the AL over that stretch at 19-11.
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The Rangers hosted the Blue Jays earlier this week and took one of three from the AL east leaders. In the first game the Rangers had it in hand, taking a 5-4 lead into the top of the ninth, just like they would have wanted. But the Jays got to Shawn Tolleson as Troy Tulowitzki hit an RBI single in the ninth to tie the game at five and then the winning run came in on an error as the Jays stole the first game 6-5. The second game of the series didn’t go so well for the Rangers as the Jays scored 12 unanswered runs after Adrian Beltre hit a two run homerun in the bottom of the first en route to a 12-4 win for the Jays. Finally, the Rangers took the last one in the series as Yovani Gallardo picked up his 100th career win, throwing 5.1 shutout innings. The most exciting play of the game was a single by Delino DeShields in the seventh that ended up becoming much more. An error by Jose Bautista allowed DeShields to score, and with two runners on base it gave the Rangers a 4-0 lead at the time. Edwin Encarnacion got an RBI double in the eighth to get the Jays on board but it was not enough. Even though the Rangers only took one of the three games, it has to be a huge confidence booster to know that they could have easily taken two of three against one of the best teams in baseball right now.
The Rangers will close out this series with the Orioles on Sunday to end a small homestand before heading west for 10 games. They will start with three at San Diego starting on Monday, followed by a Friday-Sunday set against the Angels before heading up to Seattle for a four game set against the Mariners. After the San Diego series, the Rangers have seven straight sets against divisional opponents. In fact, of the 10 series the Rangers have left after the conclusion of the series with the Orioles, eight of them are going to be against AL west opponents. Crunch time is upon us.