ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Elvis Andrus had never stepped up to bat with a fifth infielder staring in at him. He still knew exactly what he wanted to do when it happened to him for the first time Wednesday night.
With the bases loaded and one out — and with Astros left fielder Chris Carter moved in to play first base — Andrus sent a ball soaring into left-center field for sacrifice fly that scored pinch runner Adam Rosales and lifted the Texas Rangers over the Houston Astros 5-4.
"It made it easier. You don't really have to hit it anywhere, you just have to make sure you hit a fly ball," he said. "I had to stay focused and stay sure of my swing. He threw me one high enough and I was happy to be able to bring the run in and win the game."
It was the Rangers' major league-leading 40th comeback win of the season and the fourth game-ending hit of Andrus' career.
The AL West-leading Rangers (74-53) moved a season-high 21 games over .500 and hold a 2 1/2-game lead over the Oakland Athletics in the division.
"We feel really cool in that situation and that's the kind of games that are going to teach you a lot," Andrus said. "That's the kind of games you're probably going to play in the postseason."
During a wild eighth inning, Rangers reliever Tanner Scheppers gave up three hits, one walk, hit two batters and threw two wild pitches to surrender the lead. But closer Joe Nathan (4-2) shut down the Astros in the ninth to get the win.
The Texas pitching staff has allowed five runs or less in 20 consecutive games. But it looked dicey at times as both relief pitchers Joakim Soria in the seventh and Jason Frasor in the eighth came on with the bases loaded.
Only one of their combined six inherited runners scored.
"It's very comforting," Rangers manager Ron Washington said about Soria and Frasor. "You can't say enough about experience, and that's exactly what they have."
Chia-Jen Lo (0-1) took the loss for Houston, which was swept in the series and has lost eight straight to the Rangers.
Scheppers allowed a hit to open the eighth and quickly erased it by getting L.J. Hoes to ground into a double play. Then the bottom fell out for the Texas right-hander.
Jose Altuve singled, advanced to third on the two wild pitches and scored on Carter's bloop single to pull the Astros to 4-3. Scheppers then hit Matt Dominguez on the left shoulder to load the bases before throwing a pitch that glanced off Max Stassi's shoulder and into his face, knocking his helmet to the ground.
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