Rangers swat their way closer to AL West title

Rangers swat their way closer to AL West title

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are entering their season-ending four-game series with the Angels in prime position after knocking off the Tigers, 6-2, on Wednesday night. The victory came with the Angels losing to the Athletics in a late-afternoon game in Anaheim.

The Rangers have pushed the Angels to the verge of elimination in the American League West race. They have a three-game lead over the Angels with four left to play. That means the Rangers only need one win to knock the Angels out of the division race. The Astros won in Seattle on Wednesday to move back into second place, 2 1/2 games back with three to play, as they are off on Thursday. Texas' magic number to eliminate Houston is two.

"It doesn't matter who we're playing," first baseman Mitch Moreland said. "Right now we've got one goal, and that's to go out there tomorrow and take that one and finish our business. We have one more series to go, and we need to come out ready to go. We can't really control what anybody else is doing. We're playing great baseball right now. What we do is in our hands, so we'll go out tomorrow and take care of our business."

Rangers remain poised with title in reach
Watch the race unfold on MLB.TV

The Tigers have lost 24 of their last 38 games as they get ready to face the White Sox in a three-game series that will determine last place in the AL Central.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Beltre reaches top 50: The Rangers trailed, 2-0, in the bottom of the first when Adrian Beltre tied it up with a home run. It was Beltre's 17th homer of the season and the 412th of his career, tying him with Alfonso Soriano for 50th all-time.

"The captain … sitting in the middle of our lineup," manager Jeff Banister said. "He is the beacon our guys look for … special."

Beltre's two-run homer

McCann nabs another: Though Beltre's home run tied the game, Tigers rookie catcher James McCann and shortstop Andrew Romine prevented further damage when they caught Mike Napoli heading for second base. Romine corralled McCann's strong throw and slapped a quick tag just before Napoli hit the bag, making him the 28th would-be basestealer McCann has thrown out in 69 attempts this season.

McCann throws out Napoli

Chirinos shines in third: Rangers catcher Robinson Chirinos made two big plays in the third inning. With the score 2-2, Chirinos threw out Rajai Davis trying to steal second to end the top of the inning. Then he led off the bottom of the third with a home run to left-center to put the Rangers ahead for good. It was his first home run since July 18.

"He played very well," Banister said. "This guy has been grinding and working to get ready. You saw the impact he can have behind the plate. To get a home run from him, it seemed like he picked up right where he was before." More >

Chirinos' solo homer

Collins delivers in hometown matchup: Playing in front of friends of family, Texas native Tyler Collins put the Tigers on top early with a two-out, two-run single, scoring Ian Kinsler and J.D. Martinez. Collins was picked off to end the first-inning threat, but the 25-year-old had five RBIs in two starts this series.

Collins' two-run single

QUOTABLE
"Boyd was just up. Two of the three home runs were offspeed pitches up in the zone." -- Tigers manager Brad Ausmus on starter Matt Boyd, who gave up home runs to three of the first 14 batters he faced

Boyd ends whirlwind season with lessons learned

WHAT'S NEXT
Tigers: After an off-day on Thursday, Detroit begins its final series of the season in Chicago to face the White Sox in an 8:10 p.m. ET start. Alfredo Simon (13-11, 5.18 ERA) will make what could be his final start as a Tiger when he takes the mound opposite Chris Sale.

Rangers: Left-hander Derek Holland pitches against the Angels in the opener of their season-ending four-game series at 7:05 p.m. CT on Thursday. Holland is dealing with a bruised middle finger on his left hand but said he is ready to go.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Jason Beck and T.R. Sullivan are reporters for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.