Elvis Andrus knew he was going to pull off a straight steal of home.
Moments after Andrus' go-ahead, run-scoring single keyed a three-run play, the Rangers' shortstop capped the four-run seventh inning by stealing home and leading Texas to an 8-6 win over the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night.
"First pitch, the guy actually takes a couple of seconds with his head down," Andrus said. "The second time he did it, I said `Let's try it. Let's see what happens.'"
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Prince Fielder hit a two-run homer and closer Shawn Tolleson allowed two runs to score in the ninth before getting the last out with the tying runs on base.
"Exciting baseball but that is our guys," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "We let these guys play. When they see things on the field ... that's playing baseball."
Texas, which has won eight of 11 games, remained one game ahead of Minnesota for the final AL wild-card berth.
Matt Kemp homered and drove in four runs for San Diego, and has a major-league best 38 RBIs since the All-Star break.
After Kemp's 17th homer in the fifth put the Padres ahead 4-3, Andrus tied the game in the sixth with a sacrifice fly.
Reliever Marc Rzepczynski (0-1) got the first two outs in the seventh before the Rangers loaded the bases. Fielder singled and Sean Kelley replaced Rzepczynski. Adrian Beltre singled Fielder to second and after a passed ball moved both runners up, the right-handed Kelley intentionally walked lefty Rougned Odor to load the bases.
Andrus followed with a sharply-hit single to right to drive in Fielder. Kemp's throw to the plate was in time for Norris, who dove to his left to tag Beltre.
But on the slide, Beltre's foot knocked the ball out of Norris' glove and to the backstop, allowing Odor to also score.
Norris, who was on the ground holding his left arm, left the game with a strained shoulder. Kelley threw one warm-up pitch to Norris' replacement, Austin Hedges, then walked off the mound and left the game with a forearm strain.
Quackenbush replaced Kelley, and with a 2-1 count on Will Venable, Andrus took off for home. He was about three-fourths of the way to the plate before Quackenbush delivered the pitch, which was low and away.
"They took advantage of our pitcher," Padres manager Pat Murphy said. "He was reminded of it last week that it could possible happen. It's just something he's had a habit of doing, not looking at the runner."
Ross Ohlendorf (2-0) pitched a scoreless inning.
The Padres loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth against Tolleson, who struck out Justin Upton looking before Jed Gyorko had an RBI single and Hedges a sacrifice fly. Tolleson retired Cory Spangenberg on a fly out to end the game.
Fielder hit a 95 mph fastball off Andrew Cashner that skimmed off the top of the center-field wall for his 18th home run.
IT'S NOT THE FIRST TIME
Andrus has stolen home four times in his career. Before Tuesday night, the last time he pulled off the feat was Aug. 19, 2013, against Houston.
Kemp extended his career-best streak of reaching base in 21 straight games. Kemp is now tied with Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutcheon for third in the NL with 85 RBIs.
Rangers: OF Josh Hamilton (left knee inflammation) and C Carlos Corporan (left thumb sprain) were activated from the 15-day DL. Hamilton, who had missed 18 of the previous 24 games, is expected to be restricted to pinch-hitting duty.
Padres: CF Wil Myers (left wrist tendinitis) began a rehab assignment with Single-A Lake Elsinore. Myers has missed 95 games since May 11. . . 1B Yonder Alonso was lifted for a pinch hitter in the third inning after he experienced lower back tightness.
Rangers: LHP Cole Hamels, makes his sixth start since being acquired in a trade with Philadelphia. Hamels, who grew up the San Diego suburb of Rancho Bernardo, is 9-2 with a 2.15 ERA in 16 starts against the Padres, holding San Diego to a .198 batting average.
Padres: RHP Ian Kennedy has pitched much better in the second half but was inconsistent with his normally solid command in his last start, a 7-1 loss at Philadelphia. The right-hander needed a near-season high 118 pitches to get through 6 2/3 innings as he walked five, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch.