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 Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.
Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.
Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.
The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.