ARLINGTON, Texas – David Murphy, Vladimir Guerrero and Ian Kinsler hit long home runs for the AL West-leading Texas Rangers in an 11-7 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday night that stretched their majors-best winning streak to seven games.
In what might have been their last home game before clinching the division title, the Rangers built an 8-2 lead in the fourth on Murphy's three-run homer. The 426-foot blast into the second deck of seats in right by Murphy chased Armando Galarraga (4-6), who had already allowed Guerrero's 449-foot homer deep into the visitors bullpen in left-center to start the second.
With their magic number down to nine, the Rangers play their next 10 games on the road after their final off day of the regular season Thursday. They could already be AL West champions for the first time since 1999 when they play again at Rangers Ballpark on Sept. 27, the start of a seven-game homestand heading into the postseason.
Colby Lewis (11-12) went six innings to win his second straight start after needing 10 chances to finally get his 10th victory. The right-hander gave up five runs on four hits and three walks while making two fielding errors, his throwing miscue leading to three unearned runs.
Galarraga gave up a season-high eight runs, seven of them earned. It was the shortest start of the season for the right-hander who had a perfect game taken away by a blown umpire's call in June.
Ryan Raburn homered, doubled twice and drove in four runs for Detroit. Miguel Cabrera had a pair of sacrifice flies.
Raburn's 13th homer, a solo shot in the seventh, got the Tigers within 9-7 before Kinsler hit his two-run homer to straightaway center in the bottom of the inning.
Texas followed its three-game sweep of the New York Yankees by winning both games against the Tigers, who had another frustrating night after blowing a 4-1 lead Tuesday night when Texas scored the last 10 runs of that game.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland got ejected by home plate umpire Jerry Layne at the end of the fourth inning Wednesday after saying something from the dugout. Leyland then came out for an extended and sometimes animated discussion.
Raburn's double in the first off the top of the 14-foot wall in left drove in a run to make it 2-0. The ball hit the wall's padding in play and bounced back on the field, though Leyland argued it might be a home run and umpires looked at the replay to confirm their call.
After Guerrero's 27th homer and 107th RBI of the season to start the second, Nelson Cruz doubled and scored when Kinsler had a sacrifice bunt that turned into a throwing error by catcher Alex Avila.
The Rangers went ahead to stay after Elvis Andrus and Michael Young opened the third with consecutive singles. Andrus scored the tiebreaking run when Murphy had what was essentially a swinging bunt that was fielding near by the first-base line by Galarraga, who then threw the ball into Murphy's back for an error. Young scored on Guerrero's double-play grounder.
Murphy's homer an inning later stretched his career-best hitting streak to 13 games.
Detroit scored three times in the fifth, all the runs coming after Lewis fielded a comebacker, then turned to throw the ball to second. He instead threw it well wide of the bag into the center field, the second time he has done that this season.
Notes: Cabrera had his majors-best 45th double in the third, then shoved Kinsler, who applied a tag when Cabrera didn't slide into the base and almost overran it. Nothing else happened between the two. ... Kinsler, appealing a one-game suspension for taking part in an on-field postgame celebration after being ejected, said he thought the suspension would be dropped. ... It was the second game in a row umpires looked at replay after Leyland argued. In Tuesday night's game it was for Murphy's home run down the right-field line that was upheld.
(This version CORRECTS Rangers 11, Tigers 7. Subs 2nd paragraph to correct to fourth inning, sted third.)