The Rangers protected their claim to a Wild Card spot with a 8-2 victory over the Rays on Thursday, leaving the two clubs with identical records. Texas rode a three-homer third inning and big games from Elvis Andrus and Alex Rios to earn a split in this series before they head to Kansas City to face the Royals, who sit 2½ back in the race.
Thanks to the Rangers win, the Indians remain a half-game back after a dramatic extra inning win against the Astros. Cleveland got their 10th walk-off win of the season on a base-loaded single from Matt Carson in the 11th inning to stay within striking distance of a playoff spot.
The two other AL East wild card hopefuls both lost ground. The Orioles slip to two games back after losing 3-1 to John Lackey and the Red Sox, who clinched the first playoff berth in the American League with their win. The Yankees also fell victim to strong pitching from a division rival and now sit three games out after their 6-2 loss to the Blue Jays.