Banister hopes callups ease Tolleson's load

Rangers closer has been used in non-save situations

Banister hopes callups ease Tolleson's load

SAN DIEGO -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister used reliever Shawn Tolleson in a non-save situation to close out the Rangers' 8-6 win Tuesday night. The Rangers had a four-run lead going into the inning and the Padres scored twice before Tolleson got the third out.

With the expanded rosters of September, Banister is hoping increased depth in the bullpen can keep him from having to use Tolleson in non-save situations. If Banister can trust Ross Ohlendorf, Luke Jackson and Andrew Faulkner in the middle innings, it might allow him to save Keone Kela and/or Sam Dyson for late in the game. That would help ease the burden on Tolleson.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Odor still feeling discomfort in finger

Rangers second baseman says he can hit, but throwing hurts

Odor still feeling discomfort in finger

SAN DIEGO -- A strange play occurred in the eighth inning of the Rangers' 8-6 win over the Padres on Tuesday.

Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor fielded Alexi Amarista's ground ball going to his right near second base and, instead of trying to make an off-balance throw to first, Odor flipped the ball to shortstop Elvis Andrus. Odor has never done that before and Andrus wasn't expecting it. Amarista ended up with an infield single.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rangers swipe game on Elvis' steal of home

Rangers swipe game on Elvis' steal of home

SAN DIEGO -- Elvis Andrus' stunning steal of home finished off a four-run rally in the top of the seventh and the Rangers defeated the Padres, 8-6, at Petco Park on Tuesday night. The Rangers, with their eighth win in 11 games, are now three games behind the Astros in the American League West, while maintaining a one-game lead over the Twins for the second Wild Card spot.

"Right now every game means something so it's really intense," first baseman Prince Fielder said. "That's what makes it fun."

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Beth Maiman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Statcast: Being cruel? Elvis steals home

Andrus catches Quackenbush off guard for stunning play

Statcast: Being cruel? Elvis steals home

SAN DIEGO -- Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus had the Rangers' only hit in 11 at-bats with runners in scoring position Tuesday night. He also had the most stunning play of the night, the Rangers' first straight steal of home in 15 years.

Both plays came in a four-run seventh inning that carried the Rangers to an 8-6 victory over the Padres and moved them to within three games of the Astros in the American League West.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

6 players who will decide the AL Wild Card race

6 players who will decide the AL Wild Card race

With just one month left in the regular season, some division races appear all but wrapped up, and even the National League Wild Card spots look likely to go to the Pirates and Cubs -- barring a Cardinals collapse and a torrid streak from the Giants in an odd-numbered year. But there is at least one race that will go to the wire: The American League Wild Card.

While the top AL Wild Card spot will likely go to the team that finishes second in the AL East, the second Wild Card has five teams in the mix who are all within four games of each other. And with many of those clubs set to play against each other during the season's last month, it could come down to what amounts to a round-robin tournament, where only the strong will survive -- and earn a spot in the playoffs.

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Michael Clair is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @clairbearattack on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Elvis Andrus uses pantomime to explain steal of home

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Elvis Andrus uses pantomime to explain steal of home

In the seventh inning of Tuesday night's Rangers - Padres game, Elvis Andrus found himself standing on third base with a new catcher and pitcher in the game following inuries to both Derek Norris and reliever Shawn Kelley. With Kevin Quackenbush not paying attention, Elvis Andrus took off for home, giving the Rangers an 8-4 lead along the way. The run would prove important insurance as the Rangers would go on to win, 8-6, the Padres leaving runners on the corners when the game ended.

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Andrus' thievery can help fans steal a home

Quicken Loans sweepstakes offers chance to win mortgage payment valued at up to $1,500

Andrus' thievery can help fans steal a home

The deadline from Monday's sweepstakes hadn't even closed before Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus gave fans yet another opportunity to score a free mortgage payment.

In the Rangers' 8-6 win over the Padres, Andrus pulled off the rare straight steal of home, reactivating the Quicken Loans "Steal A Home" program, barely more than 24 hours after the Angels' C.J. Cron did the same Monday night.

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Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Three keys to rebuilt Rangers' playoff push

26-16 second-half record is the third-best mark in American League

Three keys to rebuilt Rangers' playoff push

As late as July 15, the Texas Rangers sat next to last in the American League in MLB.com's postseason probabilities, ahead of only the White Sox. Though they weren't in last place in the traditional standings, it wasn't difficult to see why a team that had lost 95 games in 2014, had lost seven of eight headed into the All-Star break and had sustained such a brutal run of injuries that they used 10 starting pitchers in the first half wouldn't be looked upon with confidence.

That was six weeks ago. Since then, the seemingly buried Rangers have gone 26-16, the third-best record in the AL in that time. They've gone from six games behind the then-leading Angels to 3 1/2 games ahead of them in the AL West, and only four games behind the Astros for the division lead. Texas' playoff odds have shot from 7.2 percent on July 15 to 53.8 percent, even after losing 7-0 in San Diego on Monday night, and if the season ended today, the Rangers would be traveling to New York for the AL Wild Card Game.

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Mike Petriello (@mike_petriello) is an analyst for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hamilton wants to do more than pinch-hit

Rangers outfielder not fully recovered from sore knee

Hamilton wants to do more than pinch-hit

SAN DIEGO -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, who was activated from the disabled list Tuesday, said he understands he will be limited to pinch-hitting duty while recovering from a sore left knee.

But Hamilton is still aiming to be able to play the field by the end of the month and be more than a pinch-hitter if the Rangers make postseason.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Brinson among Rangers headed to Arizona Fall League

Brinson among Rangers headed to Arizona Fall League

ARLINGTON -- Infielder Jurickson Profar and outfielders Lewis Brinson and Ryan Rua are among the Rangers listed to play for the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League.

Profar has been absent from the Major Leagues for two years because of a torn muscle in his right shoulder. He is currently limited to designated-hitter duty on a medical rehab assignment at Class A Hickory. He is also on a throwing program and the Rangers are hoping he might be able to play in the infield a couple of times a week in Arizona.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Stubbs added to provide speed off bench

Rangers activate outfielder, who has had a tough season

Stubbs added to provide speed off bench

SAN DIEGO -- This has been a tough season for outfielder Drew Stubbs. A former No. 1 pick by the Reds in 2006, Stubbs was an everyday player for Cincinnati in 2009-12, in Cleveland in 2013 and in Colorado last season. That wasn't the case this season, but he still finds himself on a playoff contender going into September.

The Rangers added Stubbs to their 40-man roster Tuesday and will use him as a reserve outfielder for the final month of the season. His primary role could be as a pinch-runner.

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T.R. Sullivan, a member of the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame, has been covering the Rangers since 1989, including for MLB.com since 2006.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rangers hope Gallo can help off the bench

Infielder has been working to improve swing

Rangers hope Gallo can help off the bench

SAN DIEGO -- Rangers infielder Joey Gallo has returned from a demotion to Triple-A Round Rock that he didn't handle well. The numbers reflect that, but the Rangers still believe he can be a valuable role player for them in September.

Gallo, called up from Doubl-A Frisco, was with the Rangers from June 2-29, while Adrian Beltre was on the disabled list, before being sent to Round Rock. During his two-month stay with the Express, Gallo hit .195 with 14 home runs and 32 RBIs in 200 at-bats.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lewis, bats can't get on track in SD

Lewis, bats can't get on track in SD

SAN DIEGO -- Tyson Ross held the Rangers scoreless through seven innings and helped pitch the Padres to a 7-0 victory on Monday night at Petco Park. The loss snapped the Rangers' four-game winning streak and dropped them to four games behind the Astros in the American League West.

Ross allowed three hits, walked two and struck out seven as he improved to 4-1 with a 2.76 ERA in his past seven starts. He is 10-9 with a 3.27 ERA, marking the first time he has had a winning record or an ERA that low since April.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. Beth Maiman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Andrus' bid to jump-start Rangers thwarted

Shortstop singles in 5th, but is thrown out trying to steal

Andrus' bid to jump-start Rangers thwarted

ARLINGTON -- Elvis Andrus at least tried to create something offensively for the Rangers. It seemed like the valorous thing to do on a night when nobody else could do much of anything against Padres starter Tyson Ross.

The Rangers weren't doing much hitting, so Andrus tried to jump-start the offense with the running game in the fifth. But he was thrown out trying to steal and Texas went quietly in a 7-0 loss to San Diego on Monday night at Petco Park.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rangers' Venable happy to return to SD

Former Padres outfielder reunites with players, coaches

Rangers' Venable happy to return to SD

SAN DIEGO -- Will Venable said it was not as weird as he thought it would be to stand on the field at Petco Park before his new club, the Rangers, opened a three-game series with the Padres on Monday night.

"I think I have gotten comfortable with the fact that I am no longer a Padre," said Venable, who received a warm ovation before his first at-bat Monday in the Rangers' 7-0 loss. "It was probably two days where it hadn't set in really. ... But now being around all these guys, the coaching staff, the training staff, the city of Arlington, I am comfortable over here now -- and I'm a Ranger."

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Beth Maiman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Holland tosses three-hit shutout to complete sweep

Holland tosses three-hit shutout to complete sweep

ARLINGTON -- Texas starter Derek Holland mastered the Orioles in a 6-0, three-hit shutout Sunday, earning a series sweep for the surging Rangers and heaping more misery on a Baltimore club that has begun to see its postseason hopes fade over the past two weeks.

"He was terrific," Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre said of Holland. "He was spotting his fastball in and out, his breaking ball was absolutely magnificent, he was making the guys chase, he was ahead in the count the whole game. It was huge for us."

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Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and listen to her podcast. Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Holland's gem gives Texas hope for stretch run

Starter in vintage form with three-hit shutout of Orioles

Holland's gem gives Texas hope for stretch run

ARLINGTON -- It may be tempting right now for the Rangers to imagine where they'd be in the standings if Derek Holland had been with them the whole season.

Had he been healthy and made another 20-something starts like he did Sunday in a 6-0 victory over the Orioles, the Rangers might well be leading the American League West right now.

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Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rangers feeling Wild with third straight win

Rangers feeling Wild with third straight win

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers maintained their grip on the second Wild Card playoff spot in the American League on Saturday night, while the Orioles continued to slide in the other direction.

Bobby Wilson's RBI double put the Rangers ahead in the bottom of the sixth inning, and they held on for a 4-3 victory over the Orioles at Globe Life Park. The Rangers, with their third straight win, have a 1 1/2-game lead for that second spot; the Orioles, with their ninth loss in the last 10 games, are now 4 1/2 games behind in the Wild Card race.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Kela has been electric out of the bullpen

Kela has been electric out of the bullpen

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers reinforced their bullpen with non-waiver Trade Deadline deals for left-hander Jake Diekman and right-hander Sam Dyson. Bringing back rookie right-hander Keone Kela from his short interlude at Double-A Frisco has also helped.

The Rangers gave Kela 10 days off in Frisco from Aug. 1-10 to ease his workload and he has been outstanding since his return. On Saturday night, which came to an end with closer Shawn Tolleson's dramatic strikeout of Baltimore's Manny Machado, Kela may have procured the two biggest outs in a 4-3 victory.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Running remains an issue for Hamilton

Running remains an issue for Hamilton

ARLINGTON -- The official word on Rangers left fielder Josh Hamilton as he recovers from a sore left knee: He is improving, but he is not ready.

That's the assessment of both Hamilton and manager Jeff Banister just two days before Hamilton is eligible to come off the disabled list. Hamilton has been taking batting practice, which suggests he is close to being able to at least pinch-hit, but running is still the issue.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Texas holds steady in WC with win over O's

Texas holds steady in WC with win over O's

ARLINGTON -- Rangers starter Cole Hamels had one shaky inning of control issues but was otherwise brilliant, holding the Orioles to two hits over eight innings in a 4-1 victory on Friday night.

The Rangers' victory was their 11th in their last 15 games, and they remain a half-game ahead of the Twins in the American League Wild Card race. The Orioles have lost eight of their last nine and are now 3 1/2 games behind the Rangers.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Gimenez's power surge a boon to Rangers

Gimenez's power surge a boon to Rangers

ARLINGTON -- Catcher Chris Gimenez has four home runs in his last 11 games after hitting six in his first 185 Major League games. So where is all this power coming from?

"Who cares?" Gimenez said with a big smile after the Rangers' 4-1 victory over the Orioles on Friday night.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Profar plays in first game since 2013

Profar plays in first game since 2013

ARLINGTON -- Infielder Jurickson Profar is back on the baseball field.

Profar has been assigned to Class A Hickory on a rehab assignment and went 1-for-4 with a single in his first game, on Thursday night, the first time he has played in a game since Sept. 27, 2013. He has missed two years with a torn muscle in his right shoulder, an injury that was surgically repaired in February.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rangers call up lefty Faulkner, option Martinez

Rangers call up lefty Faulkner, option Martinez

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers have had their eye on left-hander Andrew Faulkner ever since he made a couple of cameo appearances in Spring Training.

Back then they saw Faulkner as a possible candidate for their bullpen, and on Friday they made it a reality. Faulkner was called up from Triple-A Round Rock, and right-hander Nick Martinez was sent down after just one day in the bullpen.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

DeShields turns Bautista's error into 'homer'

DeShields turns Bautista's error into 'homer'

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers clung to a one-run lead through 6 1/2 innings on Thursday afternoon, mainly because of some tough, gritty pitching in the Texas heat.

Then they got a huge break on the kind of "home run" usually reserved for Little League and it gave them the margin they needed for a 4-1 victory over the Blue Jays.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Venable defies gravity on Statcast catch

Venable defies gravity on Statcast catch

ARLINGTON -- Rangers left fielder Will Venable made his first start in five games with a right-hander on the mound for the Blue Jays and made a terrific defensive play in the second inning of a 4-1 win on Thursday afternoon at Globe Life Park.

The Blue Jays had Ben Revere on first with two outs when Cliff Pennington sliced a drive to left field. The ball was not hit deep, but Venable was playing shallow and had to race straight back to catch up. At the last moment, he made a diving catch going away from home plate. If he doesn't catch the ball, Revere would have scored easily.

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T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.