Matt Garza pitched eight impressive innings for his first victory in six starts and the Texas Rangers kept close in the playoff race, beating the Kansas City Royals 3-1 on Saturday night.
The Rangers won for only the fifth time in 19 September games. They remained a half-game behind Cleveland for the second AL wild-card berth.
The Royals, out of the playoffs since winning the 1985 World Series, dropped 3 1/2 games in back of the Indians.
Adrian Beltre got two hits and drove in a run for Texas.
Garza (10-6) was 0-3 with an 8.22 ERA in his first three September starts. He pitched four-hit ball before giving up Eric Hosmer's leadoff home run in the ninth, and was pulled.
Garza struck out five and walked one. He is 4-5 in 12 starts since the Rangers acquired him on July 22 in a trade with the Chicago Cubs.
After Hosmer's 17th homer, Joe Nathan relieved. The Texas closer struck out two for his 40th save in 43 chances. Nathan posted his 41st career save against the Royals.