Rangers rout Rays in Wild Card showdown

Rangers rout Rays in Wild Card showdown

ARLINGTON -- Homers by Chris Gimenez, Adrian Beltre, and Shin-Soo Choo led the Rangers to a 12-4 rout of the Rays on Saturday night at Globe Life Park.

The victory gives Texas a shot at a series sweep on Sunday and moved it a half-game ahead of Tampa Bay and 1 1/2 games behind the Angels for the second American League Wild Card berth. 

"We know how quick you can lose or make up ground," Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland said. "That's something, when you've played for a couple years and get to be a part of it, you know to take your time. There's no reason to panic in those situations. We've been able to do that the last couple of games and hopefully we can continue it the rest of the year."

Gimenez's two-run homer off Chris Archer in the second inning gave the Rangers a 3-0 lead. John Jaso's RBI single in the fifth off Colby Lewis got the Rays on the board, but Texas poured it on with a seven-run sixth, led by Beltre's three-run homer off Kirby Yates.

The Rays added two in the seventh on Evan Longoria's two-run single, but Choo answered for the Rangers in the bottom half of the inning with a two-run homer off Yates. Asdrubal Cabrera hit a solo home run in the eighth to account for the Rays' fourth run.

Cabrera continues to rake for Rays

Gimenez goes deep: Gimenez set the rout in motion when he clobbered a fastball from Archer 413 feet into the grassy hill in center field. The two-run homer broke Gimenez's 0-for-7 stretch over his previous three games. Like Beltre and Choo, Gimenez finished with three RBIs.

"My main job is the pitching staff," Gimenez said. "As long as we win, I can go 0-for-50 … but it takes the pressure off me. Anything I do offensively is great. I've always felt like I've continually been getting better every year, and I think it's finally starting to show a little bit that I can do some fun things, too."

Gimenez's two-run homer

Archer troubles: Archer allowed eight runs (seven earned) on 11 hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings to fall to 10-9. He is 1-5 in his last nine starts. The Rays' right-hander is considered one of the top pitchers in the AL, so naturally his name has been in Cy Young conversations all season. The fact that his ERA swelled from 2.62 to 2.93 Saturday night might hurt those chances. Coincidentally, fellow contender Felix Hernandez allowed 10 earned runs against the Red Sox on Saturday.

"He's, if not the, without a doubt one of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball," Gimenez said of Archer. "There's not too many nights that we're able to get to a guy like that. Thankfully tonight we were able to take advantage of it."

Choo's RBI single

Lewis wins war of attrition: Lewis' outing ended with the toughest out he got all night, as Cabrera fouled off 10 pitches in the sixth before finally succumbing with a flyout on the 15th pitch of the at-bat. Choo's hurried, underhanded catch in right field ended the inning, stranded a runner and closed out Lewis' night at 111 pitches. He improved to 13-5 on the season.

"That's an old war horse out there doing what he does, and he wasn't going to give in," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. More >

Lewis wins 15-pitch battle

Longo picked off: The Rays were in the midst of a mini-rally in the seventh when Longoria singled home two runs to cut the lead to 10-3. With two outs, Tampa Bay had two runners aboard when Longoria seemingly lost track of the count and wandered too far from first before getting picked off by Texas catcher Gimenez.

Gimenez picks off Longoria

"It's more important for these guys to do what they do behind the plate and really work well with our pitching staff, continue to pay attention to the game plan, make adjustments when we need to make adjustments … What they've added at the plate has been a huge plus for us." -- Banister, on Gimenez and Bobby Wilson, who have been filling in for injured starting catcher Robinson Chirinos and injured backup Carlos Corporan

"We got beat up tonight a little bit. I thought the Rangers, credit them a little bit, they had a very good approach against Archer." -- Rays manager Kevin Cash.

Beltre's three-run homer Saturday was his 10th, giving him 16 seasons in which he has hit double-digit home runs. Among active players, only Alex Rodriguez (18) and David Ortiz (16) have that many.

Beltre's three-run shot

Longoria, who has four RBIs in this series, has 31 RBIs in 35 career games against the Rangers (including postseason).

Longoria's two-run single

Rays: Drew Smyly will come off the 60-day disabled list (torn left labrum) to make his fourth start of 2015 in Sunday's series finale at 3:05 ET. In the 10 starts he has made for the Rays in two seasons, he is 3-2 with a 1.96 ERA and he has held opponents to a .159 batting average.

Rangers: Yovani Gallardo will make his 25th start of the season in the 2:05 p.m. CT affair. He has not been as sharp in the second half of the season as he was early. He's 1-3 with a 4.71 ERA in his past eight starts, but he is coming off a no-decision in which he did not allow a run in 5 1/3 innings.

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Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com and Dave Sessions is an MLB.com contributor. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.