ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Nomar Mazara keeps driving in runs, and it's helping the Texas Rangers climb in the AL wild-card race.
Mazara had five RBIs, including a tiebreaking three-run homer in the fifth inning, and the Rangers held on to beat the Chicago White Sox 9-8 on Thursday night.
The Rangers (60-60) reached .500 for the first time since July 15 with their fourth straight win and seventh in eight games. The defending AL West champs, out of the division race behind Houston, pulled 1 1/2 games behind the idle Los Angeles Angels for the AL's second wild card.
"I trust what I got and the team's been rolling right now," said Mazara, who has 25 RBIs in his past 19 games and 82 for the season. "We're putting a lot of good at-bats together. When I go up to the plate I don't try to do too much, stay as calm as possible."
Mazara's 16th home run capped the Rangers' second four-run inning, which included two injury replacements on the mound for the White Sox in their fifth straight loss. Chicago, carrying the AL's worst record, dropped to 7-24 since the All-Star break.
The White Sox twice pulled within a run late after trailing 8-5, including in the ninth on Jose Abreu's 23rd homer, a solo shot. But Alex Claudio finished a two-inning save for the left-hander's sixth of the season.
Chris Beck replaced starter Reynaldo Lopez in the fifth and took a sharp comebacker from Adrian Beltre off the back of his right shoulder. The right-hander stayed in the game without getting checked and allowed Mazara's high drive to right-center.
After a trainer finally came out, Beck exited with a right shoulder bruise. Lopez (0-1) was removed because of soreness on his right side in his second start since coming up from the minors.
"There was no visible marks," manager Rick Renteria said of Beck. "According to him it just scraped him. He didn't feel like it got him. But we weren't going to take a chance. That area is not where you want to take a chance."
Austin Bibens-Dirkx (4-2) retired all five batters he faced after starter Tyson Ross walked a season-high six and allowed five runs in 4 1/3 innings. Chicago pitchers walked a season-high nine.
Rangers backup catcher Brett Nicholas had his second homer in two starts, a two-run shot in the third, and a bases-loaded walk in the seventh. Mazara had a two-run single later in the third. He finished one RBI shy of his career high.
LOSING CONTROL AGAIN
Abreu's two-run single helped the White Sox build a 4-0 lead that they couldn't hold a night after giving up three runs in the bottom of the ninth in a 5-4 loss at the Los Angeles Dodgers. Chicago arrived in Texas about 5 a.m. local time.
RECORD-BREAKING STREAK ENDS
Nicky Delmonico went 0-4, ending a streak of reaching base in the first 13 games of his career. He was the first White Sox player to do that, according to Elias.
The teams combined for 15 walks, matching the highest total in the majors this season. It's the third time, all since July 30. ... The rally from a 4-0 deficit was the largest comeback win for the Rangers this season. ... The White Sox have lost eight consecutive road games. ... Texas' Shin-Soo Choo has nine walks in his past seven games.
White Sox: RF Avisail Garcia was scratched from the lineup with left wrist soreness. ... Lopez said he felt something in the right side of his rib cage when he woke up. The right-hander said the pain might have been a result of the overnight flight. He was to be re-evaluated Friday. ... Beck was listed as day-to-day.
Rangers: LHP Jake Diekman struck out two on 13 pitches in a scoreless fifth inning and was the winning pitcher on a rehab assignment with Double-A Frisco, his first appearance of the season. He underwent multiple surgeries to repair and rebuild his colon to treat a digestive condition.
White Sox: RHP James Shields (2-4, 5.90) is winless (0-3) with a 7.54 ERA over his past seven starts. He is 7-3 with a 2.66 ERA in his career against the Rangers.
Rangers: RHP Andrew Cashner (7-9, 3.32) had a three-game winning streak snapped in a 2-1 loss to Houston in his last start, allowing two runs in seven innings.
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