ARLINGTON -- The Rangers maintained their grip on the second Wild Card playoff spot in the American League on Saturday night, while the Orioles continued to slide in the other direction.
Bobby Wilson's RBI double put the Rangers ahead in the bottom of the sixth inning, and they held on for a 4-3 victory over the Orioles at Globe Life Park. The Rangers, with their third straight win, have a 1 1/2-game lead for that second spot; the Orioles, with their ninth loss in the last 10 games, are now 4 1/2 games behind in the Wild Card race.
"They are frustrated," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of his club, which has gone 1-5 on its current road trip. "So there's one way to take that frustration away."
Rangers starter Martin Perez earned the victory by holding the Orioles to three runs in 6 1/3 innings. Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez took the loss, with the big blow he allowed a two-run home run by Adrian Beltre.
"We're not aiming for the Wild Card right now," Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "We're aiming for the division, and we have plenty of games in September left. It has been fun the way we are playing as a team. The pitching has been amazing, the bullpen has been terrific and we're playing great defense. We need to keep it up and continue the momentum."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Wilson delivers: After a two-out triple by Andrus in the sixth, the Orioles walked the left-handed-hitting Will Venable to face Wilson, a right-handed hitter. They also brought in right-handed reliever Mychal Givens in a 3-3 game. But Wilson delivered an RBI double down the left-field line to send home the go-ahead run.
"We take so much pride in what we do, I definitely took it personally," Wilson said. "It was preached to me by my dad -- don't let people do that to you. It was nice to come through."
Three's trouble: Three is a pesky number for the Orioles, with all nine of their losses in the past 10 games coming when the offense scored three runs or fewer. Baltimore is 9-50 in those scenarios for the season.
"Most teams will [have trouble when they don't score many runs]," Showalter said. "We've gone through periods where we've beat [guys like this]. Perez is a good pitcher. He's coming back from some health issues, but ... The changeup, any time you got command of that, you got a chance. Made everybody honest enough on the inner half." More >
Choo extends streak:Shin-Soo Choo drove in the Rangers' first run with a double that sent home Delino DeShields from first base. Choo has now reached base in all 33 of his starts since the All-Star break.
Alvarez records first hit: Orioles rookie Dariel Alvarez collected his first Major League hit with a double off Perez in the fifth inning. Alvarez, whose contract was selected from Triple-A Norfolk on Friday, went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. More >
Machado's punchout: The game ended suddenly for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, who was called out on a high swinging third strike. Machado thought he had checked his swing and threw off his helmet immediately, slamming it into the dirt as he started yelling at home-plate umpire David Rackley. Machado, who was batting with runners on first and third with two outs, had to be restrained by Showalter.
"[It was a] checked swing. You've got to ask [for help from the first-base umpire because of the] situation of the game. ... You've got to check on that," Machado said. "That's not supposed to be [how it] ended, but whatever, you can't do [anything] about it now."
RANGERS' BIZARRE FOURTH
The Rangers experienced a unique bottom of the fourth, as they went 1-2-3 in the inning despite two singles and no double plays. All three outs were recorded at second base. Venable started it off with a single, then the Rangers tried a hit-and-run with Wilson at the plate. Wilson hit a soft line drive up the middle that hit second-base airspace at the same time as Venable. The ball hit Venable on the back just as second baseman Jonathan Schoop tried to make a catch for what would have been an easy double play. By rule, Venable was out and Wilson was safe with a single. Hanser Alberto then hit a high pop into shallow left that fell in among three defenders. But Wilson had to hold up to see if the ball would be caught and was forced out at second by left fielder Gerardo Parra. Alberto was safe at first but then tried to advance on a pitch in the dirt and was thrown out by catcher Caleb Joseph.
"We're not out of this thing. It almost seems like nobody wants to take that last spot. We got the team for it. We know we can turn this thing around, and it's going to start tomorrow." -- Orioles first baseman Steve Pearce
WHAT'S NEXT Orioles: Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez tries to snap a personal four-game losing streak when he pitches against the Rangers at 3:05 p.m. ET on Sunday. Gonzalez is 0-4 with a 7.58 ERA in his last six starts.
Rangers: Left-hander Derek Holland makes his fourth start since coming off the disabled list when he pitches against the Orioles at 2:05 p.m. CT on Sunday. All three of Holland's previous starts have been at home.