Alex Rios Hits for Cycle in Must-Win Game for Texas Rangers

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Alex Rios Hits for Cycle in Must-Win Game for Texas Rangers

The Texas Rangers were faced with a must-win game against the Houston Astros on Monday, and nobody came up bigger than Alex Rios in Arlington.

In his four at-bats of the game, Rios recorded a double, single, home run and triple, respectively, giving him the cycle.

Rios started the night off with a two-run double to score the first runs of the game, opening the floodgates. The Rangers would tack on another run in the second before Rios led things off in the bottom of the third.

Rios isn't particularly known for his hustle, but he sure ran hard to beat the throw for an infield single. He would then come around to score on a David Murphy walk with the bases loaded to make it 4-0.

Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

The Rangers continued to pile it on, opening up an 8-0 lead before Rios came up to bat in the fourth inning. Rios jacked an 0-2 pitch just over the left-field wall for a home run, making it 9-0.

Chatter about Alex Rios' potential cycle, naturally, began after the home run. He was just a triple away and still had five innings to go.

Rios needed just one more at-bat, however, as he took the second pitch he saw to right-center field in the bottom of the sixth. He slid in safely at third (although there was no throw) to complete the rare achievement. Rios' marks the third cycle of the season, behind Mike Trout's in May and Brandon Barnes' in July.

Rios (4-for-4, 1 HR, 3 R, 4 RBI) became just the eighth player in Texas Rangers history to complete the cycle, and he couldn't have picked a better time to do it.

The Rangers were sitting 1.5 games behind the idle Cleveland Indians for the second wild-card berth in the American League, but moved one step closer on Monday night with the 12-0 victory.

The Indians have a cupcake schedule coming up (with series against the White Sox and Twins only remaining), which makes just about every one of the Rangers' six remaining contests a must-win game.

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Rios—who was acquired via waivers by the Rangers in August after the team lost Nelson Cruz to a 50-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal—certainly did his part on Monday, helping lift the team to a blowout victory over the Astros.

While his power numbers aren't nearly as good, the 32-year-old Rios has been a serviceable substitution. A couple fans are certainly getting behind Rios.

The Rangers have two more games against the Astros before ending the season with a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels. All games remain at home in Arlington.

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