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Mazara, Texas stay hot, make WC gains

MLB.com

ARLINGTON -- Nomar Mazara's torrid bat shows no signs of cooling. He had five RBIs on Thursday night -- including a 3-run homer -- to carry the Rangers to their fourth straight come-from-behind victory with a 9-8 win over the White Sox at Globe Life Park.

Mazara's homer capped a four-run fifth inning for Texas, which clawed out of an early four-run deficit.

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ARLINGTON -- Nomar Mazara's torrid bat shows no signs of cooling. He had five RBIs on Thursday night -- including a 3-run homer -- to carry the Rangers to their fourth straight come-from-behind victory with a 9-8 win over the White Sox at Globe Life Park.

Mazara's homer capped a four-run fifth inning for Texas, which clawed out of an early four-run deficit.

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"Just swinging the bat," said Mazara, who has 25 RBIs in his last 19 games. "You just go out there and try to do so much, when you put the ball in play like that, good things are going to happen. I just go out there, stick to my approach and try to put a good swing on the ball."

With their seventh win in their last eight games, the Rangers are back at .500 for the first time since July 15 and are just 1 1/2 games behind the Angels in the American League Wild Card race. With the loss, Chicago has dropped five in a row.

Offense fueling Rangers' postseason push

"A good team win today. It wasn't the prettiest win, but we grinded it out," Rangers starter Tyson Ross said. "It's another one in the win column for us. ... It's great. To come back and win games like this tonight ... We're doing what we need to win, and we're looking forward to continue rolling."

White Sox second baseman Yoan Moncada put his team on the board first, taking Ross deep for his third career homer, and the White Sox tacked on three more runs in the third inning before Texas stormed back.

Video: CWS@TEX: Abreu rips two-run single through left-side

Both starters struggled with command. Ross threw 83 pitches, but only 39 went for strikes, and he was lifted with one out in the fourth. Reynaldo Lopez had trouble finding the strike zone as well, throwing 49 of his 89 pitches for strikes in his second career start for the White Sox before exiting with a sore side in the fifth.

"I was struggling to repeat my delivery and execute my pitches right there," Ross said. "Way too many walks, and luckily [Austin Bibens-Dirkx] and the bullpen came in, did a good job, and the offense was able to pick me up."

Video: CWS@TEX: Bibens-Dirkx fans Engel in the 6th

Chicago scored twice in the seventh to cut the deficit to one, but Brett Nicholas worked a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the inning for a crucial insurance run.

Video: CWS@TEX: Nicholas draws a bases-loaded walk

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Mazara mashes some more: Lopez struggled with command in his first few innings and paid for it in the third. After Nicholas' two-run homer cut the White Sox lead in half, Lopez walked three of the next four hitters to load the bases for Mazara, whose single into center field scored two runs and knotted the score at 4. After Lopez exited the game and was relieved by Chris Beck in the fifth, Mazara's three-run homer -- his 16th of the year -- broke open the game and gave the Rangers an 8-5 lead.

"[Pitches have] been finding the barrel, is what they're doing," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "He's hitting the ball hard, that's the thing. Hitting it with great pace. Look, the swing looks the same. However, you watch the lower half. The front foot gets down, the hands are back, he's able to get the barrel to the baseball. That's the key."

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

Cutting it close: Matt Bush entered the game having retired 19 of the last 20 batters he faced over his previous five outings, and he had a 0.53 ERA through his last 17 games. He got two quick outs in the seventh, but the White Sox rattled off three straight hits -- two of which went for extra bases -- to cut the Rangers' lead to one run. But with Omar Narvaez on second, Alen Hanson rolled over a curveball and grounded out to end the inning.

QUOTABLE
"With that kind of talent, you can't mess around. You have to take care of these kids, especially if you are thinking of the future." -- Jose Abreu, on convincing Lopez to leave the game

WHITE SOX INJURIES
It was a tough fifth inning for White Sox pitchers. Lopez was checked on by manager Rick Renteria and head athletic trainer Herm Schneider after giving up a one-out single to Elvis Andrus. The duo at first left Lopez in the game, but doubled back and removed him. Lopez has soreness in his right side and will be re-evaluated on Friday. Lopez's replacement, Beck, was struck by a line drive off the first batter he faced, Adrian Beltre. After yielding the three-run homer to Mazara, Beck was pulled with a bruised right shoulder. He is day to day.

Video: CWS@TEX: Beltre singles, Choo scores on an error

"Lopey, fortunately for us, I think he's OK. He's icing right now," Renteria said. "He's going to be day to day."

"I woke up with this kind of soreness," said Lopez through interpreter Billy Russo. "I thought it was because of the flight last night. But I don't know exactly why." More >

Video: CWS@TEX: Lopez shaken up, leaves the game

ALL GOOD THINGS MUST END
Nicky Delmonico's on-base streak ended at 13 games with a 0-for-4 showing. Delmonico was the first White Sox player to accomplish such a feat at the start of his career, per Elias/Baseball Reference. Delmonico, who is hitting .365, also saw his 11-game hitting streak come to a close.

WHAT'S NEXT
White Sox: James Shields makes his 14th start of the season and his seventh on the road in Game 2 of this four-game set in Texas on Friday at 7:05 p.m. CT. Shields is 1-4 with a 7.27 ERA over his last 10 starts and 0-3 with a 7.54 ERA over his last seven.

Rangers: Right-hander Andrew Cashner gets the start on Friday at Globe Life Park. His three-game winning streak was snapped by the Astros on Sunday, but it was no fault of his. He allowed just two runs in seven innings, but the Rangers couldn't scratch across more than one against Dallas Keuchel.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

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

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast.