Alex Rios spoke confidently about his belief that the Texas Rangers were still bound for the playoffs before the game. He said it knowing the Rangers needed help to get there.

“We can’t focus on the big picture” Rios said. “It’s no secret we need to win but it’s still there. We haven’t changed our attitude.”

Rios backed up his words a few hours later providing a much-needed spark to the reeling Rangers by hitting for the cycle and starring on a night the offense found its stride against the worst team in the majors.

Behind Rios’ four RBIs and Derek Holland’s shutout the Rangers cruised to a 12-0 victory over the Houston Astros to keep their playoff hopes alive on Monday night at Rangers Ballpark.

Texas pulled to within one game of the idle Cleveland Indians for the second wild card. They remain two games back of the Tampa Bay Rays for the top wild card spot.

“The most important thing is that we won tonight” Rios said after his first career cycle. “That’s the attitude we’re going to take. This is what we have to do to finish the season.”

The Rangers also know they have to take advantage of this series against the lowly Astros. The Rangers have gone 15-2 against the Astros matching the franchise record for most wins against an opponent in a single season.

“We have great success against them so it’s a pretty good game for us to wake those bats up” shortstop Elvis Andrus said.

The Rangers’ got it going early on against Astros right-hander Jordan Lyles.

Ian Kinsler and Andrus each singled to start the first inning and scored on a two-run double by Rios. The Rangers made it 3-0 in the second when Craig Gentry led off with a walk and scored on a double by Kinsler.

Texas pulled away with four runs in the third an inning that began with an infield single by Rios and ended with a three-run double by Leonys Martin who made the third out by trying to stretch it into a triple.