Thanks to a dominant bullpen, the Texas Rangers have reclaimed first place.
The Rangers hope to remain atop the AL West as they begin a four-game series against the Baltimore Orioles.
Three Texas relievers combined for three shutout innings Thursday as the surprising Rangers beat Detroit 2-1 to complete a three-game sweep. The win, combined with Oakland’s loss in New York, put the Rangers a half-game ahead of the Athletics in the West.
“We’re very confident in our bullpen right now,” said Alfonso Soriano, who hit his 21st homer. “We know that 90 percent of the time, the game is over once those guys are in there.”
Texas relievers pitched 7 1-3 scoreless innings in the series.
“In the offseason, we targeted bullpen depth for this reason,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “It’s nice to see it coming together like this.”
“This season has been like a dream come true for me,” Cordero said. “But it isn’t just me—it is the starters who get it to the ‘pen, and the other guys who get it to the ninth inning for me. That’s why we are in first place.”
The Rangers’ bullpen took a hit on Thursday when right-hander Jeff Nelson was placed on the 15-day disabled list with an injured right elbow.
Nelson, who was on the DL with elbow and knee problems from May 13 to July 25, has appeared in 17 games this season, going 0-2 with one save and a 5.28 ERA.
The Orioles have won five straight and seven of eight against the Rangers dating to last season.
Rafael Palmeiro singled in two runs to snap a seventh-inning tie, and four relievers shut down Seattle in a 6-3 victory Thursday.
Brian Roberts had two hits and two RBIs for the Orioles, who completed their first three-game home sweep of the Mariners since May 1997.