With help from a resurgent offense, the Texas Rangers are keeping their faint postseason hopes alive.
In what will likely their final game in Arlington this season, the Rangers will try to stay in the race a little longer with their sixth straight home win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.
Texas (85-69) reduced its AL West deficit to 5 1/2 games behind Los Angeles and moved within six of Boston in the wild card with Saturday night’s 15-3 drubbing of the Rays
“It’s great that we’re still playing for something,” Byrd said.
The Angels, however, need a combination of wins and Rangers’ losses equaling four to clinch the title, while the Red Sox’s magic number is three.
The Rangers had alternated wins and losses in their six previous contests before this three-game series against the Rays (78-76).
Texas, however, has outscored the Rays 23-6 this weekend while hitting .370 and extending their home win streak over Tampa Bay to five. Byrd has driven in seven runs in this series, increasing his team-leading RBI total to 88.
He also has a career-high 19 home runs this season.
Texas lit up Price for six runs in 1 1-3 innings July 4, and the left-hander was on the wrong end of a 4-0 loss Aug. 23 after giving up three runs over seven innings.
The 24-year-old Price, though, is attempting to win a career-high third straight start overall and is coming off one of his best outings of the season. He outdueled Toronto ace Roy Halladay(notes) on Sept. 20, allowing one run and three hits over 6 2-3 innings of a 3-1 home win.
“The only way to beat a real good pitcher with any kind of consistency is to pitch well,” Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. “You have to pitch well to beat him, and David was very good.”
McCarthy (7-4, 4.87) has received one run of support in losing his last two outings - both against Oakland. He gave up two earned runs in 5 1-3 innings of Tuesday’s 9-1 road loss to the Athletics.
McCarthy, who will face the Rays for the first time since Aug. 10, 2007, is 1-1 with a 4.94 ERA in five career starts against them.
After batting .326 during a four-game win streak, Tampa Bay has hit .220 while dropping three of four.
While they will not successfully defend their AL pennant, the Rays need five wins to become the eighth team in major league history to win 180 games over two seasons after losing 180 over the previous two years.
Texas, meanwhile, is searching for its first 90-win season since finishing a franchise-best 95-67 in 1999.
The Rangers previously won six straight home games over the Rays from Aug. 4, 2005-April 10, 2007.