Rangers (79-67) Sweep Astros, Take Control Of American League West

Colby Lewis allowed 2 ER in 6 IP, the offense pieced together 8 runs on 10 hits, and the Texas Rangers completed a four-game sweep of the Astros. They are now 2.5 games ahead of Houston in the standings, but more importantly a full 3 games up in the loss column. 

Mitch Moreland provided the first critical blow of the game, an opposite field three-run HR, to make it 3-0 Rangers. Houston responded with 2 of their own in the top of the 3rd, and the score stood 3-2 until the bottom of the 7th. 

There, Texas went single, SAC, SB, wild pitch (making it 4-2), single, strikeout, double (making it 6-2). In the 8th the Rangers added three insurance runs to put the game out of reach. All 8 runs were recorded with two outs.

Shin-Soo Choo went 4-5 with four singles and two runs scored, and is now hitting at an improbable .267/.364/.446 (120 wRC+) clip, unfathomable after what he displayed the first couple months of the season. We can say it about a number of players, especially during the second half, but without Shin-Soo this team simply wouldn't be here right now. 

The Rangers are 79-67, 12 games above .500 for the first time this year, and owners of a 4.0 game cushion on a playoff spot -- 3 in the division, 4 on the wild card -- with 16 left to play. They outscored Houston 33-13 in 4 home contests, propelling them past even our wildest fairytale land expectations before the series started.

Following narrow 5-3 and 6-5 wins to open the series, we can't forget there was a real chance for an entirely different outcome. Texas was basically two coin-flips away from being 75-69 and 3 games back in the loss column. Fortunately the baseball gods, as they have for much of the 2015 season, shined down favorably on the Rangers and they found ways to win. What came next was just as unexpected: consecutive blowouts where Texas outscored Houston by 17 runs, vaulting them from -1.5 to +2.5 in the AL West race. 

For the Astros, they just experienced the worst possible scenario. Four straight losses couldn't have come at a worse time, and to a worse team.