Rays Send Rangers to Seventh Straight MLB Loss in Wild-Card Race

The Tampa Bay Rays solidified their hold on one of the American League’s two wild-card playoff berths with a 6-2 win against the Texas Rangers, whose losing streak reached seven games.

The Rays used a four-run fifth inning to snap a 2-2 tie in the opener of a three-game series last night in St. Petersburg, Florida, and improve their record to 82-67. The Rangers, at 81-68, still hold a half-game lead over the Cleveland Indians for the AL’s second wild-card spot.

The Indians (81-69) missed a chance to move past the slumping Rangers in the wild-card race by losing 7-1 to the Kansas City Royals last night.

James Shields allowed one run over six innings with 10 strikeouts as the Royals (79-71) pulled within 2 1/2 games of the Rangers and tied the New York Yankees, who were off yesterday. The Baltimore Orioles (79-70) are two games behind the Rangers. Major League Baseball’s wild-card berths go to the two non-division winners in each league with the best records.

The Rays and Rangers play again today, as do the Indians and Royals. The Yankees, who have 12 games left in the regular season, open a three-game series today in Toronto.

The Pittsburgh Pirates and St. Louis Cardinals remain tied atop the National League Central division with 87-63 records after both teams lost yesterday.

The Pirates were shut out 2-0 by the San Diego Padres and pitcher Andrew Cashner (10-8), who carried a perfect game into the seventh inning and faced the minimum 27 batters. The only hit he allowed was a single to right field by Pittsburgh’s Jose Tabata leading off the seventh inning.

The Padres are the only MLB franchise without a no-hitter.

The Cardinals lost 6-2 in Colorado as the Rockies scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning.

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