The Texas Rangers are back at .500 again. Next up, they'll try to break something of a troublesome rut.
Adrian Beltre hit two early homers and the Rangers pushed three runs across in the 10th inning to beat the Los Angeles Angels 7-5 Wednesday night.
The Rangers' seventh win in 10 games put them at 63-63. It's the fourth time in seven days they've been at the break-even point, but they haven't been over the .500 mark since June 27.
For a team still holding playoff ambitions — the victory left them two games behind Minnesota for the second AL wild-card spot — it's proving a distasteful challenge.
The latest news from around North Texas.
"Five hundred is just a marker for us that you get to for where you want to go," manager Jeff Banister said. "It is a stepping stone. It would be nice to put a little run together to get a little closer to where we want to go."
Luis Valbuena homered and drove in four runs for the Angels, who remained a half-game back of the Twins.
Rougned Odor hit a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the 10th and Robinson Chirinos and Drew Robinson followed with RBI singles off Eduardo Paredes (0-1), runs that would prove the difference.
"Where we were going to go through [Mike] Trout and [Albert] Pujols again [in the 10th], we really needed an opportunity to tack on," Banister said. "That was huge."
After Jose Leclerc walked the first two batters in the Angels 10th, Tony Barnette relieved. He got Pujols to ground into a double play, gave up an RBI single to Kole Calhoun and then got the last out for his first major league save.
Alex Claudio (3-1) pitched two innings for the win.
The Rangers scored single runs in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings. Their first three runs came via the solo homer — two by Beltre and one from Chirinos.
"I got lucky a couple of times," Beltre said.
Beltre has 16 home runs this season. He also contributed a smaller but significant play in the 10th after a rare throwing error by Andrelton Simmons on an infield hit left Elvis Andrus at second.
Beltre grounded out to second, allowing Andrus to advance to third. The Angels intentionally walked Nomar Maraza, but Parades could not get Mike Napoli and walked him to load the bases and set the stage for Odor's sacrifice fly.
"He got bases loaded and tried to get the strikeout on Rougned and he got the bat on the ball to get the sacrifice," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "Then from there, he just had some pitches those guys hit hard. It was a tough inning for him."
The Rangers had a chance to go ahead in the ninth when Shin-Soo Choo singled and Chirinos tried to score from second. Instead, Trout fielded the ball in center field and threw a bullet to the plate to nip him. The throw came in on a line and never touched the ground.
"That was about as good a ball as you can throw to home plate," Banister said. "You have to credit the center fielder more than anything else. It took a strike to throw him out."
Claudio has emerged as the Rangers' closer, but remains extremely versatile. He retired all six batters he faced in the eighth and ninth to allow Texas to mount its rally.
"He's been our MVP," Beltre said. "He throws pitches where he wants to. He's economic. The guy is unbelievable."
Rangers: INF/OF Joey Gallo (concussion) has rejoined the team and begun working out. He is eligible to come off the disabled list Tuesday. ... OF Carlos Gomez (back cyst) is eligible to come off the disabled list Saturday. The only concern appears to be the stitches breaking apart.
Angels: 3B Yunel Escobar (oblique) worked out for a second day and could next be headed for a rehab assignment. ... RHP Garrett Richards (biceps strain) is scheduled to pitch a second simulated game Friday at the team's Arizona facility.
Rangers: LHP Martin Perez (8-10) is scheduled to start the four-game series finale against the Angels. Has gone 4-2 with a 2.38 ERA over his last seven starts.
Angels: RHP Troy Scribner (2-0) was recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake and is scheduled to start in place of injured RHP JC Ramirez (elbow strain). He last made a spot start Aug. 8, holding Baltimore to one run on two hits in five innings.