ARLINGTON, Texas – The Rangers overtook the Houston Astros for first place in the AL West, winning another tense Texas showdown 6-5 on Mitch Moreland's sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning Tuesday night.
Adrian Beltre's fourth hit put the Rangers in position to win a night after Prince Fielder pulled them within a half-game of the Astros with a tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth.
Houston had been in first place since July 28.
Fielder opened the ninth with a single to left off Oliver Perez (2-3), and pinch-runner Drew Stubbs went to third on Beltre's third single. Moreland sent a 1-0 pitch from Will Harris to Colby Rasmus in shallow center field, but Rasmus' throw was off target and bounced, enabling Stubbs to score easily.
Texas closer Shawn Tolleson (6-3) pitched a scoreless ninth as the Rangers (77-67) moved into first place for the first time this year, at a season-high 10 games over .500. Houston (77-68) holds the second AL wild card, 1 ½ games ahead of the Twins.
Houston's Evan Gattis finished the Astros' rally from an early four-run deficit with a two-out, two-run single for a 5-4 lead in the fourth. His soft two-strike liner over leaping shortstop Elvis Andrus kept Texas starter Derek Holland from escaping after the Astros put runners at the corners with nobody out.
The Rangers answered with two outs in the bottom of the inning. Fielder singled and scored from first on a ground ball double down the left-field line from Beltre, who drove in two runs.
Astros starter Collin McHugh allowed the first five Texas hitters to reach in a four-run first inning after giving up just four runs over 19 innings in his first three career starts against the Rangers.
McHugh allowed five runs for the second straight start in 3 ⅔ innings, leaving after Beltre's tying double.