ARLINGTON – Adrian Beltre came through with a go-ahead homer in the sixth, the bullpen picked up a subpar start by Yu Darvish and the Texas Rangers held on for a 3-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.
The Rangers remain one-game back for the second wild card of the Cleveland Indians, which had a walk-off victory over the Chicago White Sox earlier in the night. Tampa Bay remains two games up for the top wild card spot with five to play.
Darvish lasted only 5 1/3 innings, allowing single runs in the first and sixth.
The Rangers tied the game at 1-1 in the fourth on an RBI single by Geovany Soto, and took a 2-1 lead in the fifth on an RBI single by Ian Kinsler.
But the Astros tied it at 2-2 when Matt Dominguez took Darvish deep to start the sixth. Darvish exited after issuing a one-out walk to Trevor Crowe later in the inning, and Neal Cotts pitched out of the jam.
The Rangers took the lead for good in the home half of the sixth when Beltre deposited a one-out solo shot into the left-field seats.
Cotts got the first out of the seventh with Tanner Scheppers getting the final two that inning and the first two in the eighth. After Scheppers issued a two-out walk and single to put runners at the corners in the eighth, Jason Frasor entered and got out of it by inducing a shallow fly ball by Carlos Corporan. Joe Nathan closed out the ninth for his 41st save.
The Rangers improve to 16-2 against the Astros this season, and will go for a three-game sweep Wednesday night. The 16 wins are a franchise high against a single opponent in a season.
-- Drew Davison