St. Petersburg, FL – Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus each had three RBI to help Texas snap a seven-game skid with a 7-1 win over Tampa Bay that pulled the Rangers even with the Rays at the top of the heated AL wild- card race.
Kinsler homered to begin the game and Andrus went deep during a four-run third for the Rangers, who won for only the second time in their last 12 games.
"Given the circumstances, it was a big win. We're gonna try to build off it as best we can," Kinsler said.
Alexi Ogando (7-4), making his first start for Texas since Aug. 13, limited the Rays to two hits, one being a Jose Lobaton homer, in five innings of work.
Starter Jeremy Hellickson (11-9) lasted just 2 2/3 innings in his outing for Tampa Bay.
The Rays and Rangers are a half-game up on Cleveland in the playoff race.
Kinsler drove Hellickson's first pitch of the contest down the left-field line, then jumped on another first-pitch offering from the Tampa Bay right- hander in the third and plated two with a single.
The inning began with a walk to Mitch Moreland and a double by Leonys Martin, who finished with three extra-base hits. After Kinsler made it 3-0, Andrus followed with homer over the left-field wall.
"I just didn't start off right. I settled down a little bit, and in the third walked the leadoff guy and you can't do that against a lineup like that," Hellickson said.
Lobaton's towering shot inside the right-field foul pole put the Rays on the board in the home third, but Texas got the run back in the fifth on Andrus' sacrifice fly.
Martin added a solo blast to the right-field seats in the ninth.
Texas had gone homerless in seven straight games, the club's longest drought since an eight-game stretch from Aug. 10-17, 1990 ... The Rangers had not led at any point during their losing streak ... Kinsler now has 29 career leadoff homers ... Hellickson pitched in his 100th career major league game ... Rays starting pitchers had allowed three runs or less in nine consecutive games.