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The Juice: Rangers creep, ever so meticulously, to AL West title

Big League Stew

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Gather 'round, because it's time to recap the most recent diamond doings. Roll Call starts in Anaheim where — No, really, take it — the Texas Rangers finally obliged the Los Angeles Angels and scored a run.

Game of the Day
Rangers 2, Angels 1
(12 inn.)

Run, Frenchy! Jeff Francoeur(notes) knows opportunity when he sees it, so when a Matt Palmer(notes) fastball — of all pitches — glanced off the mitt of catcher Jeff Mathis(notes), he high-tailed it home and scored the go-ahead run. It had taken the Rangers eight innings — including 16 straight outs heading to the 12th — to put a second run on the board.

Stay, Frenchy! Francoeur is the same dude who knew enough to let Mariano Rivera(notes) hit him with a pitch with the bases loaded to beat the Yankees barely two weeks ago. He knows what time it is.

"It's a strange way to win, because you're expecting a curveball to get away, not a fastball," Francoeur said. "I didn’t hesitate, though. It was a good opportunity."

Method Men: The Rangers have been hesitating to put away the rest of the AL West; they came in having dropped three straight, but their magic number now is down to four. Two victories against the second-place Oakland Athletics, who are up next on the schedule, and the Rangers can party like it's 1999 — the most recent season they made the playoffs.

Neftali Feliz(notes), Happy Texas: With a relatively painless bottom of the 12th, Feliz (hand on heart in photo) got his 37th save — tying the rookie record by Seattle's Kazuhiro Sasaki in 2000. ... C.J. Wilson(notes) made another strong start (as did Los Anaheim's Dan Haren(notes)), but both were long gone by the time the Rangers figured it out.

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They Also Played...

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White Sox 4, Athletics 3: Ozzie Guillen ain't goin' no place.

Phillies 1, Braves 0: The Roy Oswalt(notes) trade is working out: He has a 1.76 ERA in 11 starts since joining Philly.

Rays 7, Yankees 2: The Rays want first place, but playing the Yankees would mean so much more in a couple of weeks.

D-backs 8, Rockies 4: Schlocktober.

Padres 3, Dodgers 1: CONGRATULATIONS to Luke Gregerson(notes) for his major league record 37th hold. Not kidding.

Cubs 2, Giants 0: The Giants were shut out for the fourth time in their past five losses. When they lose, they don't mess around with any silly "runs."

Brewers 13, Reds 1: Cincy can't be choosy, considering it hasn't been in the playoffs in 15 years. But looking ahead to Johnny Cueto's(notes) first postseason start can't inspire much confidence after this drubbing.

Twins 5, Indians 1: Nick Blackburn(notes) in the playoff rotation? Don't do it, Gardy.

Nationals 4, Astros 3: Danny Espinosa(notes) might give the Nationals their own Dirtbag in the middle of the diamond.

Pirates 11, Cardinals 6: Charlie Morton(notes) went 4 1/2 months between victories. Get out now, kid.

Marlins 7, Mets 5: Logan Morrison(notes) has reached base in 41 straight games. Soon, he will interview Ken Burns. What did you do your rookie season?

Tigers 4, Royals 2: The Tigers want Miguel Cabrera(notes) for AL MVP. Sure, why not? Next game...

Mariners 6, Blue Jays 3: Ichiro Suzuki(notes) went 1 for 5 and is two hits short of 200. Jose Bautista(notes) is stuck on 49 homers. Jose Lopez(notes) hit three home runs, about five months after they could have done any good.

Red Sox 6, Orioles 1: Big Papi still has big pop.

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