Darvish carries Texas playoff bid into last game
Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers throws against the Houston Astros on September 24, 2013 in Arlington, Texas.
The Rangers downed the visiting Los Angeles Angels 7-4 on Saturday while Tampa Bay lost 7-2 at Toronto, leaving Texas and Tampa Bay at 90-71 with one game to play as they battle with the Cleveland Indians (91-70) for the last two American League playoff berths.
The Indians won 5-1 at Minnesota, their ninth consecutive victory, to grab the lead in the wildcard fight and would clinch their first playoff appearance since 2007 with another triumph Sunday over the Twins no matter how the Rays and Rangers fare.
Darvish, the major league season strikeouts leader with 269 over 204 innings, has won all three of his starts against the Angels with a 3.00 career earned-run average against them.
The 27-year-old right-hander, 13-9 this season, is 7-6 at home with a 2.66 earned-run average in 2013. The Rangers are 14-4 against the Angels this year, including seven home wins in a row over them.
Alex Rios, A.J. Pierzynski and Craig Gentry each drove in a run for Texas, which has won six games in a row to stay in the playoff chase, and the Rangers were helped by five errors from the Angels, their most in a game since 2006.
At Minnesota, Scott Kazmir struck out 11 and Carlos Santana smacked a two-run homer for Cleveland, which can do no worse than host a tie-breaker game Monday for a wildcard spot.
At Toronto, Kevin Pillar and Ryan Goins each blasted two-run homers to power the Blue Jays over Tampa Bay Toronto pitcher J.A. Happ, allowed only one run on five hits over 7 1/3 innings.
Pittsburgh beat Cincinnati 8-3 on Saturday to ensure their rematch on Tuesday in the National League playoff wildcard game in Pittsburgh, the first playoff game in the city in 21 years.
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