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09/12/10 9:22 PM ET

High-flying Rangers contend with Cabrera

By the time the Rangers take the field Tuesday night for the first of three against Detroit, they will be refreshed, recovered and ready to resume pursuit of their first American League West flag since 1999.

When they left Rangers Ballpark late Sunday afternoon, they were just exhausted, physically but especially emotionally. So to call Monday's off-day a welcome break in the schedule would be an understatement.

But after 12 hours, eight minutes and 37 pitchers, Texas had scored three wins and untold emotional points over the Yankees, dropping on them a calling card that could be helpful in October.

After stealing a page from the 2008 Rays, whose confidence was fueled by some notable triumphs over the Red Sox and the Yankees, the Rangers must stay on track against the dangerous Tigers.

Waylaid by key injuries in the middle of the season, Detroit comes in having won seven of its last 11 and turns to Jeremy Bonderman, who will seek his third straight win against left-hander Derek Holland.

To underscore the threat represented by the Tigers, they enlist the Majors' top RBI man in Miguel Cabrera, who has been taken out of Triple Crown talk by Josh Hamilton and Jose Bautista, but may be producing the best overall season.

Cabrera's line shows a .335 average, 34 homers and 116 RBIs. But he trails Hamilton, Texas' injured outfielder, by 26 points in average and is a dozen homers behind breakout slugger Bautista.

Cabrera has done his usual damage against the Rangers and the rest of the AL West. He is batting .367 (40-for-109) in 28 games against the division, with 10 homers and 32 RBIs.

The upbeat weekend series had to do wonders to set up the Rangers' mindset for a possible October confrontation with the Yankees. It certainly set a better precedent than what had preceded the teams' three prior postseason meetings.

In three Division Series that constitute the entirety of Texas' postseason history, the Rangers were bounced by the Yankees each time while managing to win only one of the 10 games. In regular-season play leading up to those series in 1996, '98 and '99, the Rangers had gone 14-21 against the Bombers.

Tigers: Productive foursome
Bonderman and Rick Porcello (9-11), slated to start Wednesday, could soon join Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer in giving the Tigers a quartet of starting pitchers with 10-plus wins.

Rangers: Elvis flashing speed
Elvis Andrus stole his 30th base on Sunday, giving him consecutive 30-steal seasons, the first Texas player to do that since Tom Goodwin in 1998-99. The difference is Goodwin was a 32-year-old veteran with 175 steals prior to 1998, while Andrus turned 22 a couple weeks ago.

Worth noting
The series against the Yankees drew 137,396 fans to Rangers Ballpark, the second-highest attendance for a three-game series in Rangers history. ... The Lions and Tigers still have not won on the same day since Sept. 30, 2007, following the Chicago Bears' 19-14 win Sunday over the NFL team.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.