MLB

Tigers-Rangers Preview

The Texas Rangers managed to extend their slim AL West lead by holding on in a seesaw game with Detroit.

They'll get one more matchup with the Tigers on Wednesday night before a pivotal series to end the regular season.

Texas (85-72) remained two games ahead of the Los Angeles Angels and moved 2 1/2 in front of Houston while snapping a three-game skid with a 7-6 victory Tuesday. Shin-Soo Choo homered in a five-run first inning, but the Rangers still needed Adrian Beltre's tiebreaking double in the fourth and Drew Stubbs' running catch in the ninth.

"(All these games) are intense," manager Jeff Banister said. "There's a lot of energy. You hang on every single pitch. ... You see Stubbs track that ball down. There's a little emotion going on inside of all of us."

Texas will take on the Angels in four games beginning Thursday night, and Yovani Gallardo (12-11, 3.42 ERA) will try to help send his club into that series with some momentum in his final scheduled start.

The right-hander, though, hasn't pitched past the sixth inning in any of his last six games and has gotten out of the fifth in two of his last three outings, going 0-2 with a 6.43 ERA. Gallardo gave up two runs in 4 2-3 innings in a 6-2 win in Houston on Friday and is one loss shy of matching his career high from 2009.

The last time he pitched through the sixth inning was a 5-3 win in Detroit (73-84) on Aug. 22, when he left with no outs in the seventh with the Rangers holding a 4-0 lead. That performance was part of a seven-start stretch in which he went 5-0 with a 2.39 ERA.

Gallardo will be opposed by Matt Boyd (1-5, 6.91), who has often struggled on the road in his rookie season. The left-hander is 0-2 with a 9.87 ERA in four starts away from Detroit and his first in Texas will be his final one this year.

He's faced the Rangers twice, going 0-2 with a 4.97 ERA. Boyd has received two runs of support in those outings and gave up three runs in six innings in his latest Aug. 23, a 4-2 loss.

Boyd gave up one hit but walked four and permitted four runs - two earned - over six innings in a 6-4 win over Minnesota on Friday, his fourth consecutive start without a decision. He's 0-3 with a 6.47 ERA in his last eight starts since a 2-1 victory against Kansas City on Aug. 5.

Miguel Cabrera is 4 for 6 lifetime against Gallardo but might sit out with his fourth AL batting title in five years all but wrapped up. Detroit manager Brad Ausmus indicated he planned to sit Cabrera for one of the final two games against Texas and the slugger was the designated hitter Tuesday with Victor Martinez out due to an ailing left quad.

Cabrera is batting .334, 10 points ahead of Boston's Xander Bogaerts, after going 0 for 3 in the loss. He's 1 for 7 in the series and seen his career average against the Rangers drop to .387.

J.D. Martinez could have a clearer mind after becoming the first Tigers outfielder to reach 100 RBIs since Magglio Ordonez had 103 in 2008. Martinez's 38th homer Tuesday gave him 101.

"I felt like I've might of been trying too hard these last few weeks (to reach the milestone), and it definitely feels good not to think about it anymore and just go out there and play," he said.

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