CINCINNATI -- The Rangers are done playing last-place teams. Now they are going home for what may be the biggest homestand of the season.
That makes it even more important that the Rangers aren't going home on a losing streak, and they avoided that by holding on to a 6-5 victory over the Reds at Great American Ballpark on Wednesday night.
Now Texas opens up a 10-game homestand on Thursday night at Globe Life Park, beginning with the Cleveland Indians. This one is a showdown between two teams who have been going back and forth with the best records in the American League.
Both teams have comfortable leads in their division, but there is still over a month left in the season, and at a minimum, postseason home-field advantage could be at stake.
"It should be fun," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Two teams that have a lot on the line. It's going to be tough ballgames."
After the Indians come the second-place Mariners for three games, and then the Astros, who are right behind them in the AL West standings.
"We've got some quality teams in front of us," Banister said. "We have to play better baseball. We have to play clean baseball. We need our starters to give us length and let our offense get going."
The Rangers did not play clean baseball on Wednesday night. Instead, their mistakes helped erase a couple of three-run leads on a night Texas entered the game having committed the third-most errors (77) and allowed the third most unearned runs (43) in the AL.
Nomar Mazara put the Rangers ahead with a three-run homer in the second, but the Reds scored two in the bottom of the inning against Yu Darvish on a hit batter, two walks, a fielder's choice and catcher Jonathan Lucroy's passed ball.
The Rangers went up 5-2 on back-to-back home runs by Darvish and Ian Desmond in the fifth, but the Reds came back to tie it. One run scored in the fifth with the help of shortstop Elvis Andrus' throwing error.
In the sixth, Darvish retired the first batter, but Scott Schebler followed with a grounder to second baseman Rougned Odor, who was playing out in shallow right field. Odor was slow in charging the ball and Schebler beat it out for a single. The Reds ended up scoring twice to tie the game.
"We have to play clean baseball," Banister said. "I like the way our guys are swinging the bat. This offense is going to score some runs. But we've got to play clean on defense, make good decisions, catch the ball and record the outs."
The Rangers pulled this one out in the eighth when Desmond was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on Adrian Beltre's double. That helped the Rangers snap a three-game losing streak coming against two last-place teams: the Rays and Reds.
"Yeah, we definitely haven't played good baseball in the last few days," Beltre said. "We've missed some opportunities to win ballgames. We were able to come back and win tonight, but we should have won more easily."
The Indians, Mariners and Astros are not last-place teams.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.