Arlington, TX – The Houston Astros secured the worst season in franchise history on Wednesday while the Texas Rangers kept pace in the AL wild card race.
Leonys Martin hit a three-run double and Ian Kinsler filled the box score with a home run, two runs scored and two RBI as Texas completed another sweep of the Astros, 7-3, at Rangers Ballpark.
The Rangers came into their penultimate series in a 5-15 slump in September, and despite taking all three in the set, they still trail the Cleveland Indians by one game for the final wild-card spot.
"If we can continue to win ballgames, I don't care what (the Indians) do," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "If they win out, that's just the way it is."
Martin Perez (10-5) helped them stay in the win column with seven quality innings that saw him strike out eight while allowing three runs on six hits.
The Rangers, who close out the regular season with four home games against the Angels, won the last 11 meetings against the hapless Astros and took the season series by a whopping 17-2 margin.
Houston's 108 losses with three games to play eclipsed its dubious mark from last season and marks the most in the majors since the Arizona Diamondbacks went 51-111 in 2004.
Dallas Keuchel (6-10) was tagged for seven runs -- six earned -- on six hits over 5 2/3 innings in the latest setback, while Brandon Laird highlighted the Astros' offense with a two-run homer.
"We're only going to be better. Next year will be a positive year," Laird said.
Elvis Andrus opened the scoring with a run-scoring groundout in the bottom of the third before both teams combined for eight runs the next frame.
Chris Carter tied the game, 1-1, with an RBI single, and Laird put the Astros in front two batters later with a shot to straightaway center.
A single, walk and hit batsmen loaded the bases for the Rangers in the home half, and Martin put the Rangers on top with a bases-clearing double to right.
Kinsler and Alex Rios followed with RBI singles later in the inning, and the former hit his 13th home run of the season in the sixth for a 7-3 Rangers cushion.
Jason Frasor and Joakim Soria each tossed a scoreless inning behind Perez to close out the win.
The Rangers are just the fourth team since 1969 with 17 wins in one season over a single opponent ... Perez's outing ended an eight-game stretch of Rangers starters allowing two runs or less, which matched the longest streak in club history ... The Astros finished with a 27-54 road record ... Houston has an off day Thursday before hosting the Yankees for the final three games of the season.