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TEX@LAA: Rangers go back-to-back-to-back in fifth

ANAHEIM -- The Rangers don't know who they are playing yet in the first round of the playoffs, but they do have an idea of what their pitching staff will look like.

Colby Lewis solidified his role as the Rangers' third starter with six strong innings in a 10-3 victory over the Angels on Tuesday night at Angel Stadium. Lewis is expected to follow C.J. Wilson and Derek Holland -- who will pitch Game 2 -- in the rotation. Matt Harrison will be the fourth starter and Alexi Ogando will go to the bullpen.

"I'm looking forward to it," Lewis said. "I felt I was ready before tonight."

Lewis, who threw 76 pitches, allowed two runs in six innings and the Rangers won their 95th game, tying the club record set in 1999. They can break the record in the season finale on Wednesday with Harrison on the mound.

"Good ... let's get one more and break it," second baseman Ian Kinsler said after going 3-for-5 with his 32nd home run and his 30th stolen base of the season. That allowed him to reach 30-30 for the second time in his career.

The Rangers have won five straight and 14 of their last 17 games to reach the record.

"We've been playing good baseball all year, especially down the stretch," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "That's all that is ... we've been playing good baseball."

A victory on Wednesday will also clinch home-field advantage for the Rangers in the first round of the playoffs. They hold a one-game lead over the Tigers for the second seed in the playoffs going into the final game. But the Tigers get second seed if the two teams finish with the same record because they won the season series against the Rangers.

"If we win the game, we know we go home," Washington said. "We're going to go out there and play the best we can. I'm going to put my 'A' team out there, we're going to strap it on and play hard for nine innings."

Kinsler hit one of five home runs for the Rangers. Mike Napoli also hit two. The Rangers had three consecutive home runs in the fifth inning by Adrian Beltre, Napoli and Nelson Cruz. It's the second time this season and sixth time in his career that Napoli has hit two home runs in a game.

"Everybody felt good tonight," Napoli said. "I was just trying to put tough at-bats together and it worked out."

The Rangers were supposed to face Ervin Santana, but the Angels, after being eliminated on Monday night, switched to rookie Tyler Chatwood instead. He ended up losing to the Rangers for the third time in three starts.

"You have to get the ball in good zones and repeat pitches, and Tyler couldn't do that," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "You saw how deep of a lineup they have tonight."

Chatwood had a 1-0 lead going into the third, but Kinsler hit a one-out homer for his 32nd of the season. After Elvis Andrus walked and Josh Hamilton singled, the Rangers added three more runs on RBI singles from Michael Young, Beltre and Cruz, ending Chatwood's night after 2 2/3 innings.

In the fourth, Kinsler doubled, stole third and scored on Hamilton's sacrifice fly. That gave the Rangers a 5-2 lead and then came the three consecutive home runs in the fifth inning. Beltre has hit 12 home runs in September, the most in the Majors, while Kinsler is second with 11. Napoli added a two-run home run in the seventh inning.

Cruz was 2-for-5 and the home run was his first since coming off the disabled list with a strained left hamstring. He was 5-for-32 in that time before Tuesday night and he flied out to deep center in his last at-bat.

"It was a good night," Cruz said. "I had good swings and I was reading pitches better. It was definitely good to have this type of game so I can finish strong."

Ogando pitched the ninth inning in what is likely his last outing of the regular season. He will move to the bullpen to join Neftali Feliz, Darren Oliver, Michael Gonzalez, Mike Adams and Koji Uehara. Scott Feldman is also expected to be in the bullpen.

The Rangers still haven't decided if they'll take an extra catcher or an extra reliever as their 25th player. They continue to talk about it.

They also need to know whom they are going to play, but a victory on Wednesday will at least tell them it will be at home. Comments