After taking the opener of this four-game set in thrilling fashion, the Texas Rangers enter the weekend sitting just outside the AL wild-card picture.
If his efforts against the Los Angeles Angels are any indication, Alexi Ogando could give them a chance to climb in.
Looking to stay unbeaten versus Los Angeles, Ogando tries to help the Rangers keep pace in the playoff chase Friday night.
After sweeping Houston by a combined 22-5 score, Texas (88-71) won 6-5 on Thursday on Jurickson Profar's pinch-hit walkoff homer. Winners in nine of 11 in the series, the Rangers have posted five consecutive home victories over the Angels (78-81), with the last four all coming on walkoff homers.
"It's definitely weird, four walk-offs in a row," said Angels reliever Michael Kohn, who is now responsible for two of those shots. "It's not the ballpark. It's just a matter of executing pitches."
Texas, which set a club record with four errors in the second inning, remains one game behind Cleveland for the second wild-card spot and two in back of Tampa Bay.
"We're alive another day," Thursday's starter Matt Garza said. "That's what we're playing for right now. We're just playing to get in any way we can do it."
The Rangers now turn to Ogando (7-4, 2.93 ERA), who is 5-0 with a 1.98 ERA in 23 games - five starts - against the Angels. He has held Josh Hamilton hitless in six at_bats in their matchups.
Ogando has shined in two starts since rejoining the rotation last week. After allowing one run and two hits in five innings to beat the Rays 7-1 on Sept. 17, the right-hander gave up two hits over seven scoreless innings opposite James Shields in Sunday's 4-0, 10-inning loss at Kansas City.
"It doesn't matter who I'm facing. I'm competing with the batters," he said through an interpreter. "They are the only ones I can compete with. It doesn't matter what anybody else is doing."
The Angels counter with C.J. Wilson (17-7, 3.36), who had gone 9-0 during a 13-start stretch before falling 3-2 to Seattle on Sunday. The left-hander allowed all three runs and struck out nine in 8 1-3 innings.
Wilson, whose 17 wins are a career high, has now recorded four consecutive 200-inning campaigns.
"As a starter, you're trying to go out there and make all your starts and throw as many innings as you can," he told MLB's official website. "That's your job, so I'm just out there doing my job.
"The wins that I had this year and the innings, strikeouts and all that stuff, that's for fantasy baseball players. Real baseball players are concerned about winning for the team."
Wilson, who spent the first seven seasons of his career with Texas before joining the Angels in 2012, is 1-2 with a 7.92 ERA in seven starts against his former team. Ian Kinsler is 8 for 16 with four extra-base hits in their matchups, and Alex Rios is 8 for 19 with two homers.
Kinsler is batting .387 with a homer and seven runs during an eight-game hitting streak. He has also hit safely in seven straight in the series.
Despite Thursday's loss, Los Angeles is 16-5 in its last 21 road games. The Angels are 23-10 overall since Aug. 23.
The Associated Press News Service
The Associated Press
All Rights Reserved