The Texas Rangers — and especially Alex Rios — were happy to see the Houston Astros on Monday night.
The Rangers, reeling from a 3-7 slump in their last 10 games, with their postseason hopes getting flushed away with each L, unleashed a barrage of offense against the Astros, smacking their in-state foes 12-0. Rios led the way, hitting for the cycle and going 4-for-4 with four RBIs and scoring three runs.
Rios is the third player to hit for the cycle this season — coincidentally, all three players to do it play in the AL West and all have come against other AL West teams. Mike Trout did it in May against the Seattle Mariners and Brandon Barnes of the Astros did it in July, also against the Mariners.
On Monday night, Rios achieved it pretty quickly. He doubled in the first, singled in the third, homered in the fourth and then closed out the cycle with what is often the most challenging part, the triple, in the sixth inning. After cycling, Rangers manager Ron Washington gave Rios the rest of the night off, replacing him in the seventh inning.
Rios becomes the seventh player in Rangers history to hit for the cycle. The last Ranger was Adrian Beltre, who did it on Aug. 24 of last season. With their win, the Rangers gained a half a game in the Wild Card standings on the idle Cleveland Indians, and kept pace with the Tampa Bay Rays, who won in dramatic fashion Monday.