ARLINGTON, Texas – Ian Kinsler and the Texas Rangers moved closer to another AL West title with a split.
They can now wrap up another division title at home even before having to face the chasing Athletics again next week in Oakland.
Kinsler hit a leadoff homer to start a five-run first inning, Matt Harrison got his 18th victory and the two-time defending American League champions held on for a 9-7 victory Thursday. By splitting the four-game series, the Rangers maintained their four-game division lead over the As with six to play.
Never doubted it, manager Ron Washington said of his teams response after losing consecutive games at home. The worse we were looking for was a split. They can also play, and we got what we wanted.
The Rangers magic number for clinching is three heading into a weekend series at home against the Los Angeles Angels, starting today.
Kinslers 19th homer was his majors-best seventh leadoff shot this season. The Rangers had four consecutive two-out hits, capped by Mike Napolis two-run homer off Travis Blackley (5-4).
Texas (92-64) scored in each of the first four innings against three different pitchers, matching Oakland run-for-run in the second through the fourth until the As hit three solo homers in the eighth off Mike Adams.
We constantly kept the momentum in our favor, if you dont look at the three home runs in the eighth. We responded to them, Kinsler said. We want to be a team thats tough to put away.
MARINERS 9, ANGELS 4: In Anaheim, Calif., John Jaso hit a two-run homer and an RBI double as Seattle spoiled Los Angeles efforts to close in on Oakland in the AL wild-card standings.
Vernon Wells and Alberto Callaspo drove in early runs for the Angels (86-70).
Los Angeles remained two games behind Oakland (88-68) with six games to play.
BLUE JAYS 6, YANKEES 0: In Toronto, Brandon Morrow and two relievers combined on a five-hitter as Toronto trimmed New Yorks tight lead in the AL East to one game over idle Baltimore.