Pennant Pursuit: Rangers walk off again to capture first place in AL West

null null null null null null null null null null null null null null null null Baseball null null It took 144 games, but the Rangers finally are in first place in the AL West.Texas took over the division lead Tuesday by beating the Astros for a second consecutive night. This time, Mitch Moreland delivered a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning to score Drew Stubbs and secure a 6-5 victory. MORE: Every team's worst September collapse | Astros-Rangers helps argument for radical realignmentEight games below .500 on May 3, the Rangers are 77-67 and half a game up on the Astros entering their game against Houston on Wednesday. Texas is 35-21 since the All-Star break. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Rangers are the fifth team since 1969 to take sole possession of first place for the first time in a season on Sept. 15 or later. With the loss, the Astros slide into the second AL wild-card spot, 1 1/2 games ahead of the Twins, who lost to the Tigers 5-4. Star performersAmerican LeagueAthletics outfielder Josh Reddick homered for the second straight game in Oakland's 17-6 rout of the White Sox. He finished 2 for 4 with four RBIs, three runs scored and a walk. National LeagueAfter pulling a prank on the Phillie Phanatic, Nationals All-Star Bryce Harper went 3 for 3 with two homers and four RBIs in a 4-0 win over the Phillies. Even after gaining a game on the Mets, who lost 9-3 to the Marlins, the Nats still trail by 8 1/2 games in the NL East. Plays of the dayCardinals starter Carlos Martinez charged off the mound to field a bunt and fired a throw across his body to nab the Brewers' Elian Herrera at first base. The Cards won 3-1 in 10 innings to reach 90 wins for the third consecutive season. Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas chased down Lonnie Chisenhall's popup and made a diving catch in foul territory. The defending AL champions won 2-0 to reduce their magic number to nine. Key injuriesYankees designated hitter Alex Rodriguez has a bone bruise in his left knee. The injury didn't seem to cause a problem Tuesday as A-Rod homered and walked against the Rays. Red Sox starter Joe Kelly exited with right shoulder tightness and fatigue after throwing two scoreless innings against the Orioles.Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he's optimistic that outfielder Hunter Pence (oblique) will return for the team's final homestand of the season.A look ahead(All times Eastern)Cubs (83-61) at Pirates (87-57), 7:05 p.m.: Cubs starter Jake Arrieta (19-6, 1.99 ERA) will be trying for his 20th win of the season. Arrieta also will be vying for his 17th straight quality start as the Cubs look to take a bite out of the Pirates' four-game lead in the wild-card standings. A.J. Burnett (8-5, 3.14 ERA) will

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take the mound for the Bucs; he may have his hands full with infielder Starlin Castro, who is batting .471 in his career against Burnett (16 for 34).Astros (77-68) at Rangers (77-67), 8:05 p.m.: Dallas Keuchel (17-7, 2.22 ERA) gets the nod as the Astros look to regain the AL West lead. Keuchel has a 4.60 ERA in five starts at Globe Life Park in Arlington, but he held the Ranger to two runs over seven innings there on April 12. With left-hander Martin Perez (2-5, 5.43 ERA) on the hill for the Rangers, Houston's top right-handed hitters -- Carlos Correa (.934 OPS), Jose Altuve (.935) and George Springer (.940) -- could be in for a big game.