ARLINGTON -- The Rangers had a remarkable run to the seventh division title in club history. It would take forever to go through all the remarkable and intense victories that carried them through the season.The highlight reel would last for hours, so it's better to sum up with the all-too-familiar
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers had a remarkable run to the seventh division title in club history. It would take forever to go through all the remarkable and intense victories that carried them through the season.
The highlight reel would last for hours, so it's better to sum up with the all-too-familiar records. Entering Monday, the Rangers are 36-11 in one-run games, with 47 comeback victories and nine walk-off wins.
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There were also five important dates that changed or defined Texas' season.
1. May 15: The Rangers trailed the Blue Jays, 6-3, going into the bottom of the seventh, and scored four runs to take a 7-6 lead. In the top of the eighth, Blue Jays outfielder José Bautista, who had reached on a hit-by-pitch, slid hard into second baseman Rougned Odor trying to break up a double play. Bautista then jumped up and made a move toward Odor, who responded with a hard right punch to the jaw. Both teams spilled onto the field and Odor would end up serving a seven-game suspension. The Rangers won the game, got swept by the Athletics in Oakland but then went on a torrid stretch of winning 29 of 37 games to take control of the division.
2. May 28: The rotation was hit hard by injuries all year, but guys kept coming back strong after serving their time on the disabled list. The biggest return was on May 28, when Yu Darvish came back after missing 14 months while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Pitching against the Pirates, Darvish went five innings, allowing one run on three hits, a walk and striking out seven. Darvish had another stint on the disabled list later in the season, but it was clear from his first start he still had overpowering stuff.
3. Aug. 1: The Rangers approached the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline with the idea of upgrading a starting rotation hit hard by injuries. White Sox left-hander Chris Sale was their primary target, but when that fell through, they switched directions. Instead, they traded three prospects to the Brewers for All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy and reliever Jeremy Jeffress. They also sent three prospects to the Yankees for outfielder Carlos Beltrán. Three of the six players traded were former first-round Draft picks, but Lucroy and Beltran gave the Rangers a much deeper lineup after the loss of Prince Fielder and Shin-Soo Choo to injuries.
4. Aug. 25: With Choo out for the season with a broken left forearm, the Rangers upgraded their outfield by signing Carlos Gómez, who had been released by the Astros. Gomez's first game with Texas was Aug. 25 against the Indians, which was also the first of a 10-game homestand against Cleveland, Seattle and Houston. The Rangers were 6 1/2 games ahead at the time, and it was clear this was the biggest stand of the season. Gomez hit a three-run home run in his first at-bat to spark a 9-0 win, and Texas went 8-2 on the homestand.
5. Sept. 13: The Rangers were 15-4 against the Astros, including 12 wins by two runs or fewer. That was the biggest difference in winning the division. The last win showed how heart-breaking Texas could be against its intrastate rivals. The Rangers trailed, 2-1, going into the ninth against closer Ken Giles. But the inning was kept alive when Odor reached on a strikeout-wild pitch. With two outs, they went ahead on a triple by Elvis Andrus and a single by Jurickson Profar.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.