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Offense fueling Rangers' postseason push

Texas has won four straight, all in come-from-behind fashion
MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- All of a sudden, the Rangers are right back in the thick of the postseason chase.

With a 9-8 victory over the White Sox on Thursday at Globe Life Park, the Rangers have reeled off four wins in a row and have won seven of their past eight games, losing just once on this homestand. And, more important, Texas sits just 1 1/2 games out of the second American League Wild Card spot.

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ARLINGTON -- All of a sudden, the Rangers are right back in the thick of the postseason chase.

With a 9-8 victory over the White Sox on Thursday at Globe Life Park, the Rangers have reeled off four wins in a row and have won seven of their past eight games, losing just once on this homestand. And, more important, Texas sits just 1 1/2 games out of the second American League Wild Card spot.

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The pitching has been decent, but what's fueled the engine in the Rangers is the offense. They've won four consecutive games -- all three wins against Detroit, and the first of the four-game set against Chicago -- by rallying from early deficits.

Video: CWS@TEX: Mazara hammers a three-run homer to center

"It's big. That's the confidence that we have in our offense and how they're going right now," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said of his team's ability to erase deficits. "The nine walks, being patient in the at-bats, and then capitalizing. Obviously, [Nomar Mazara] is swinging the bat very well and [Elvis Andrus], [Rougned Odor] chipped in. [Brett Nicholas] came up big for us tonight as well."

The Rangers have overcome deficits of two, one, two and four runs, respectively, in the past four days. The hitters stayed patient, working at-bats and drawing favorable counts until they could get what they want.

"Up and down the lineup, kind of pushing the at-bats along," Banister said. "Again, I think it was 18 baserunners tonight. If you continue that process, you're going to score some runs. There is some confidence in this offense right now."

Video: CWS@TEX: Banister on Bibens-Dirkx, hot offense

When they're scoring runs in bunches, pitchers can afford to have off nights, which is what happened Thursday. Tyson Ross struggled with his command and didn't make it through the fifth, but it didn't matter. The Rangers scored four runs in the bottom of the inning and tacked on another in the seventh, giving Ross a mulligan.

"It's great. To come back and win games like this tonight," Ross said. "... We're doing what we need to win and we're looking forward to continue rolling."

The eruption has been spearheaded by Mazara, who has caught fire since the end of July. In his past 19 games, Mazara has driven in 25 runs, capped off by his five-RBI performance Thursday. He's batting .484 with a 1.207 OPS over his past eight games alone, and he became the third Ranger in the past 10 years to record 82-plus RBIs in the first 120 games of a season.

Video: CWS@TEX: Mazara lines a two-run single to center

With an offense that refuses to die, the Rangers are within striking distance of the postseason, back at .500 for the first time since July 15. A win Friday would give them more wins than losses, a distinction they haven't held since June 27.

"We didn't panic. We're taking better at-bats," Mazara said. "Nine innings, we've got to play. We're keeping the lineup moving and having good at-bats, and good things are happening."

Sam Butler is a reporter for MLB.com based in Arlington.

Texas Rangers, Elvis Andrus, Nomar Mazara, Brett Nicholas, Rougned Odor