On this date in franchise history, the Texas Rangers clinched their fourth American League West title, defeating the Oakland Athletics, 4-3.
On September 25, 2010, the Rangers were playing a day game in Oakland against the Athletics and knew there was a good chance they could clinch the title that day. The Rangers decided to take care of business, defeating the A’s, 4-3, and celebrating in Oakland on a Saturday.
The Rangers put together one-run innings on four occasions, including the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. It was Jorge Cantu who put the Rangers ahead for good with a solo home run in the eighth.
Derek Holland started the game, but Darren O’Day took the win and Neftalí Feliz recorded his 38th save of the season, which triggered a celebration Rangers fans hadn’t seen for 11 years.
The Rangers had not won an American League West championship since the 1999 season, at which point the Rangers had won three division crowns in four years. The Rangers won their first division title in franchise history in 1996, followed by titles in 1998 and 1999.
After that, the Rangers went into a decade-long swoon, with only two winning seasons in 2004 and 2009. The rebuild truly began with the trade of first baseman Mark Teixeira, a trade which brought players like Elvis Andrus, Matt Harrison, and Feliz to the Texas Rangers.
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In 2010, sensing the opportunity to win that AL West title, the Rangers made a deal to bring pitcher Cliff Lee to Texas for prospects, one of which was first baseman Justin Smoak. While Lee did not have a particularly efficient regular season, he would come up big in the postseason.
But, on this day, the Rangers knew they were headed back to the playoffs.
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