ARLINGTON -- The Rangers could clinch a playoff spot before they clinch the division title.The Rangers went into Tuesday's game with the Athletics with a magic number of five to win the division title. But the magic number was three to clinch one of two AL Wild Card spots. The Rangers will be happy once they clinch a playoff spot, but the real celebration won't come until they clinch the division title. "The division, no doubt," outfielder David Murphy said. "It was definitely one of our goals coming into Spring Training to reach postseason, but with the two Wild Cards having to win a one-game playoff to get to the next round, it's more important to win the division. You show up for a one-game playoff and have a bad day, you're going home." The Rangers have won five division titles but have never reached the playoffs as a Wild Card team. This year two Wild Card teams will have a one-game playoff with the winner taking on the team with the best record in the league. Right now the Rangers have the best record. "If we can only get in on a Wild Card and you clinch that, then you celebrate," Washington said. "But you really celebrate the division title." Second baseman Ian Kinsler said just clinching a playoff spot can't be completely overlooked. "You definitely need to do something to toast that," Kinsler said. "Maybe not pop the champagne corks but recognize making the playoffs. But the division is the one we really want to celebrate."
Hamilton 'excited' by Miggy's Triple Crown push
ARLINGTON -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton went into Tuesday's game with 43 home runs, one more than Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera.Cabrera still led the league in batting average and RBIs, meaning right now Hamilton is standing in his way of being baseball's first Triple Crown winner since 1967. Hamilton has led the league in batting average and RBIs but has never led the league in home runs. He wouldn't mind if Cabrera ended up winning in all three categories because of what it would mean to win the Triple Crown. "I'm excited about it for him," Hamilton said. "I enjoy watching guys succeed at what I do. What a great accomplishment that would be. But I'm not going to stop playing. I'm rooting for him, but I'm not going to go out there and not try to hit home runs. But he's so close, I would definitely like to see it happen." Red Sox outfielder Carl Yastrzemski was the last player to win the Triple Crown, accomplished in 1967 when he led the American League with a .326 average, 44 home runs and 121 RBIs. Yastrzemski actually tied with Twins slugger Harmon Killebrew for the most home runs but still was credited with the Triple Crown.
Oswalt impresses with relief work
ARLINGTON -- Roy Oswalt pitched two scoreless innings in the Rangers' 5-4 victory over the Athletics on Monday. It was the veteran right-hander's first appearance in over two weeks, but his work as a reliever is not being overlooked and he is still in a position to win a spot on the Rangers' playoff roster."I thought he was outstanding," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He came in, pounded the strike zone, hooked up his secondary stuff and moved his fastball around down in the zone." It was Oswalt's first time on the mound since leaving a start against the Rays on Sept. 9 with tightness in his right forearm. He allowed one hit and struck out two. "It went good, it went well," Oswalt said. "I was surprised I had pretty good command. I kept the ball where I wanted, it didn't drift on me. My body is a little sore today, but my arm feels pretty good." The Rangers are limiting Oswalt to about two innings because of his arm, but he could still fit into their postseason bullpen as a middle reliever. "He has pitched well out of the bullpen, he really has," Washington said.
Moreland delivers in clutch
ARLINGTON -- Adrian Beltre had the game-winning hit on Monday night with a bases-loaded single that gave the Rangers a 5-4 victory over the Athletics. Lost in the postgame celebration was the face that Mitch Moreland started the rally.He led off the inning with a single off reliever Tyson Ross before being replaced by pinch-runner Craig Gentry, who ended up scoring the winning run. "I just wanted to get up there and make something happen ... get a pitch I could hit and get the bat on the ball," Moreland said. "I got a changeup and was able to get it through the infield and get us going." Moreland is 4-for-8 in his last three games but is hitting .219 with no home runs and four RBIs in his last 23 games. He would like to start reversing that as the Rangers approach the playoffs. Moreland has appeared in 24 postseason games over the past two years, hitting .253 with three home runs and 10 RBIs. "Every game I want to feel like I'm locking it in, whether it's postseason or not" Moreland said. "It would be nice if we all got clicking going into postseason. What this team is capable of doing, one through nine, is scary. If we can keep playing our style of baseball, we'll be in good shape."
Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz is purchasing a fire truck for the city of Las Matas Santa Cruz in the Dominican Republic. The town is close to Cruz's hometown of Monte Cristi. Two ambulances donated by American Medical Response will also be given to Las Matas Santa Cruz during pregame ceremonies on Wednesday. Hamilton reached 100 runs for the first time in his career when he crossed home plate twice on Monday night. The Rangers are 10-8 on Monday and have clinched a winning record for each day of the week this season. That hasn't happened since 1977.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.