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Rangers Shellack John Lackey, Maintain Lead In AL West

On August 15, the Rangers led the Angels by four games but faced a 23-game stretch where they would be at the Angels for four, at the White Sox, home for four against the Red Sox, home against the Angels, home against the Rays, at the Red Sox and at the Rays. Meanwhile the Angels would have the Rangers, Orioles, White Sox for two, Rangers, Mariners, Twins and Mariners over that same stretch.

With one last series in the stretch remaining, the Rangers have gone 11-9 through possibly the most competitive period of their schedule. Through the same stretch, the Angels have gone 11-8. Texas has to consider the last 20 games some level of success, given the disparity in schedule during that time.

The latest link in that defense has been the three game series in Boston, who had taken three of four in convincing fashion in Arlington. After Derek Holland pitched a masterpiece in game one, leading the Rangers to a 10-0 win, it was up to Matt Harrison to carry them to their third series win since that Boston debacle.

Harrison did not dominate, but he battled his way through seven innings, allowing just two runs. The Texas offense got to John Lackey for six runs in five innings on their way to an 11-run day, and the Rangers would win 11-4. Ian Kinsler led the way with three hits – including a triple and his 25th home run – and more stellar defense. David Murphy, Mike Napoli, Mitch Moreland and Endy Chavez each had two hits for Texas.

Now it’s on to Tampa Bay, where the Rangers will have to deal with the tough end of the Rays’ rotation before they see a more favorable schedule for the stretch run.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.