It’s time to start taking the Rangers very seriously in the overcrowded American League Wild Card race.
Martin Perez pitched into the seventh inning and Adrian Beltre connected for his 408th career home run as Texas defeated the visiting Orioles 4-3 on Saturday night in Arlington. That’s the third victory in a row for the Rangers, who have won 12 of their last 16 games and now hold a 1 1/2 game lead over the Twins for the second AL Wild Card spot.
Cole Hamels has rounded into fine form after a rough start to his Rangers career and the offense has scored four or more runs in five straight games.
Minnesota and Anaheim — the two closest teams in the Wild Card standings — both lost Saturday.
Derek Holland will take on Miguel Gonzalez on Sunday as the Rangers try to sweep the O’s.
Your box scores and AP recaps from Saturday …
Tigers 1, Blue Jays 15
Red Sox 3, Mets 1
Cardinals 6, Giants 0
Royals 6, Rays 3
Marlins 1, Nationals 5
Padres 3, Phillies 4
Rockies 3, Pirates 4
Mariners 7, White Sox 6
Angels 3, Indians 8
Reds 12, Brewers 9
Astros 4, Twins 1
Yankees 3, Braves 1
Orioles 3, Rangers 4
Athletics 3, Diamondbacks 2
Cubs 2, Dodgers 5
The Athletic’s Jayson Stark reports that the Giants have signed 1B/OF Darin Ruf to a minor league contract.
Ruf, 33, played parts of five seasons in the majors with the Phillies from 2012-16, enjoying occasional offensive success. He spent the last three seasons in the KBO League in South Korea with the Samsung Lions, reigniting his career. Ruf hit an aggregate .313/.404/.564 with 86 home runs and 350 RBI over 1,756 plate appearances.
Ruf joins an ever-increasing list of players whose major league careers fizzled out, then found new life overseas — Eric Thames and Miles Mikolas are a couple of examples. Ruf will hope to prove himself as a big leaguer once more in spring training with the Giants.