|Andrus: 3-run HR, 5 RBI|
Texas topped Tampa Bay, 9-5, remaining tied with the Angels for second place in the AL West, 11 games behind the Astros, winners of their sixth straight, a 7-2 win at Minnesota.
The play of shortstop Elvis Andrus was key to the Texas victory. Andrus started the Rangers off on the right path, following Shin-Soo-Choo's leadoff homer with a double, scoring on Nomar Mazara's single to right.
The Rays countered with four runs in the third and another in the fifth before Andrus tied the game at five with a three-run blast with two outs in the seventh inning, his seventh homer of the season. Texas tacked on two more runs in the eighth, and Andrus completed the scoring, singling home two teammates in the ninth. Andrus finished the game 3-for-5, with five RBI and two runs. Batting primarily from the two hole, Andrus is batting .288 with 27 RBI.
The Rangers had been gaining some ground through the middle of May when they won 10 straight, but ran into trouble on the road, dropping three in Boston and two of three in Toronto.
Back in Arlington, their Tuesday win evened the series at a game apiece, the rubber game scheduled for Wednesday at 8:05 pm ET.
|Ray: 4-hit Shutout|
The race in the NL West is really heating up. With the Dodgers topping St. Louis, 9-4, for their sixth straight win, and Seattle clubbing Colorado, 10-4, the Dodgers have caught and passed the Rockies, leading the division by 1/2 game.
But, this is a three-team race. Arizona won at Pittsburgh, 3-0, Tuesday, on the strength of Robbie Ray's four-hit shutout at Pittsburgh.
Ray (5-3, 3.00) was solid throughout, out-dueling Pittsburgh's Ivan Nova, who kept the Diamondbacks scoreless until the sixth inning. Throwing 76 of 115 pitches for strikes, Ray fanned 10 without issuing a walk. An equal-opportunity hurler, Ray fanned all nine starters once each, excepting #8 hitter Gift Ngoepe, who struck out twice.
Ray upped his strikeout total to 84, tied for third in the NL with Jeff Samardzija and Zack Greinke. Max Scherzer leads the league with 89. The Mets' Jacob deGrom is second with 86.
Arizona, which dropped the first game of the series, looks to walk the Pirates off the plank in game three, Wednesday at 12:35 pm ET.