ARLINGTON -- The Rangers, led by a couple of former Brewers, are back atop the race for the best record in the American League.
Carlos Gomez hit a three-run home run and Jonathan Lucroy had a two-run double in leading the Rangers to a 6-4 victory over the Brewers on Tuesday night at Globe Life Park. Tony Barnette, on the mound for the first time since Sept. 4, pitched a scoreless sixth to get the victory as the Rangers, trailing 3-0 after two, earned their 48th comeback win.
The Rangers are 93-65, giving them a half-game lead over the Red Sox (92-65) for the AL's best record and home-field advantage through the postseason. The Indians are right behind at 91-66. Texas, with five games left, also has a shot at tying or passing the club record of 96 wins in 2011.
"I haven't been here all year, but the short time I have been here the fans have been great, so I think they deserve it," Lucroy said. "I think it gives us a distinct advantage. Anytime you play a playoff series at home, that's going to be an advantage for any team. The first step was clinching, the second step is obviously getting home-field advantage."
Chris Carter hit his 39th home run for the Brewers and second baseman Jonathan Villar stole his 60th base, the third highest total in franchise history. Milwaukee starter Jimmy Nelson took the loss in his final 2016 start, allowing five runs in 5 1/3 innings to push his ERA to 4.62.
"I'm not happy with this entire season. It's extremely frustrating," said Nelson. "I put in the work on and off the field, in-season and out of season. The only thing I can do is trust that it will turn."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Gomez finds upper deck: Gomez hit his longest homer with the Rangers, and momentarily tied the game, with a three-run shot in the third hit off the facing of the upper deck in left field. Gomez's 12th home run went a Statcast-estimated 444 feet, which was his second-longest of the year. The ball left his bat at 110.2 mph, per Statcast™, which is hardest home run and second-hardest batted ball this season. Gomez is hitting .385 with nine RBIs in his past 10 games.
"No, just a regular home run," said a smiling Gomez. "I hit the ball really well. But when two [men are] on base, that's more important. It's not the way I hit a home run. If Profar doesn't take a walk and Elvis doesn't take a walk, and I find some pitch to drive out of the ballpark, this isn't going to happen."
Carter nears 40 homers: Carter put the Brewers on the board with a two-run homer in the first, his 39th of the year, which ranks third in the National League. The ball left his bat at 106 mph and traveled 378 feet, per Statcast™, just over the left-field wall. It was Carter's fifth-shortest home run of the year. Carter has already surpassed his career-high of 37, which he set in 2014 with the Astros, and is looking to become the first player on the Brewers to hit 40 homers since Ryan Braun did it in 2012.
Santana steals two runs: With two outs in the fifth and the Brewers leading by one, right fielder Domingo Santana made a running catch near the warning track on a line drive by Ian Desmond. Elvis Andrus, who hit a one-out single, would have likely scored on the play. Batted balls similar to Desmond's have been hits 65 percent of the time this year. Then in the sixth, Santana threw out Lucroy at the plate after a single by Mitch Moreland. Santana's assist was registered at 93.1 mph, per Statcast™, which is his second-hardest throw of the year and third-hardest on a Brewers assist.
"I'm just grateful that I'm healthy," said Santana who began the season as Milwaukee's leadoff man but has been limited to 73 games by elbow and shoulder injuries. "I'm trying to play winter ball, you know? But I'm really just trying to get back my body, get settled."
Beltran burns up basepaths:Carlos Beltran, 39, shook of any notion that he can't still make plays with his legs. It started in the sixth when Beltran took away extra bases from leadoff hitter Orlando Arcia with a full extension, diving play toward the right-field foul line. Then in the bottom half, Beltran legged out an infield single and stole second -- his first stolen base of the year. Beltran went on to score on Lucroy's two-run double. Beltran still had something left in the tank in the seventh, when he legged out a double down the left-field line to set up an RBI groundout by Adrian Beltre, scoring Desmond.
"He's amazing," Andrus said of Beltran, "He's rejuvenating everybody. Today, the old guys brought the energy."
"That's something you always want to be a part of, especially when you put all the hard work in during the offseason. Hopefully I'm a part of it and go to work." -- Griffin, on being a part of the postseason pitching staff
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With his 60th stolen base in the books, Villar is two home runs shy of being the fourth player in Major League history to hit at least 20 homers and steal at least 60 bases in a season, and the first since Rickey Henderson in 1990. Henderson had three such seasons, Joe Morgan two and Eric Davis one. Villar's 60th steal came on an odd-looking play in the sixth, when he took off for second base with Michael Reed at third and Scooter Gennett at the plate, and didn't draw a throw from Lucroy. Villar stopped short of the base and actually took a step back to first before realizing he'd reached the milestone he'd been hunting for weeks.
COLLISION RULE CALL STANDS
Lucroy, after his two-run double, tried to score on a one-out single by Moreland and was thrown out by Brewers right fielder Santana. The Rangers challenged the call, claiming that catcher Manny Pina blocked home plate. After review, it was determined there was no violation and the out call was confirmed.
WHAT'S NEXT Brewers: Right-hander Chase Anderson pitches for the Brewers at 7:05 p.m. CT on Wednesday against the Rangers at Globe Life Park. Anderson is 5-1 with a 2.30 ERA in his past 11 starts and will be making his second career start against the Rangers.
Rangers: Left-hander Cole Hamels starts for the Rangers in the rubber game of the three-game series. This will be Hamels' final regular-season start and he needs 6 1/3 innings to reach 200 for the eighth time in his career.