Behind starter Derek Holland, the Rangers shut out the Athletics 4-0 to take a series win and cut their deficit in the AL West to 2.5 games. The victory was Ron Washington’s 582nd as Rangers manager, moving into first place for the most in Rangers history. Bobby Valentine had been in the lead with 581, accrued between 1985 and 1992. However, he had a .490 winning percentage. Washington, in seven years, has a .537 winning percentage.
Holland tossed eight shut-out innings, allowing four hits and walking two while striking out ten. Joe Nathan pitched a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation. The bulk of the offense came on a Nelson Cruz solo home run in the second and a two-run shot by Mitch Moreland in the seventh.
The Rangers have now won six out of their last seven games. They continue their road trip, slated to face the dregs of the AL West in the Angels for three games, and the Astros for four.
Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports that the Blue Jays and third baseman Josh Donaldson are tabling extension talks as the two sides weren’t able to build any momentum towards agreement on a new contract.
Donaldson said, “We’re not quite there. That, to me, right now is not the major focus and I’m turning the page.” He added, “I want to play this season and really focus on winning games because, ultimately, our goal is to win a World Series and I don’t want to hinder that at all.” Donaldson also said he expects to hit free agency.
The 32-year-old avoided arbitration with the Blue Jays last month, agreeing on a $23 million salary for the 2018 season. He’s a free agent at season’s end. Last year, the three-time All-Star hit .270/.385/.559 with 33 home runs, 78 RBI, and 65 runs scored in 496 plate appearances. Donaldson missed six weeks in the first half with a calf injury, but was able to return and post terrific numbers, so his health — at least that aspect of it — shouldn’t be a concern going into spring training.
If Donaldson does reach free agency, he’ll join a star-studded group that will likely also include Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Charlie Blackmon, and A.J. Pollock.