After two months of the season, this much is clear: If the injury-depleted, pitching-thin, offensively inconsistent Rangers are to remain in the pennant race, it will take a village.

It will take Yu Darvish going deep into games on his assigned night because the rest of the rotation lacks the experience or stamina necessary. It will take a legion of late-inning relievers because Jason Frasor and Neal Cotts, both in their mid-30s, can’t pitch more than two consecutive days. It will take young hitters maturing. And it will take a bit of Elvis Andrus’ flair.

Need an idea of what that would look like?

The last two nights.

After a bullpen pick-me-up from restored relievers Robbie Ross and Tanner Scheppers allowed them to salvage a win over Baltimore on Thursday, the Rangers held off a hot Cleveland team 6-4 on Friday to move back above .500 for the season. At 31-30, believe it or not, they are in the thick of the nascent wild-card race, a half-game back of the second spot.

“They are battling, man,” manager Ron Washington said. “That’s what I love about these guys.”

In particular, Washington was talking about young hitters Rougned Odor, who gave the Rangers an early lead on a two-out homer, and Michael Choice, who gave them the lead for good on another two-out homer.

But the words applied to the entire team effort Friday.

Despite lacking his recent “stuff,” Darvish searched his endless bag of pitching tricks and found enough to get the Rangers through seven innings. He got the benefit of Choice’s second homer in the last two games in the bottom of the inning to make him a winner.

Choice had singled with two outs in the second inning. Odor followed with a first-pitch home run. In the seventh, against the over-consonanted Mark Rzepczynski, Choice jumped on a first-pitch fastball as well for an opposite-field home run.

“If it’s a situation where there are runners on or a situation where the game is closer, I think it makes me a little bit more aggressive at the plate and not too picky,” Choice said. “In those situations, the pitcher doesn’t want to walk someone.”

Darvish blew a 4-0 lead by allowing two-out homers in the third and the fourth. But, digging deep into his wide repertoire of pitches, he managed to stick around through the seventh.

When the starter goes deep, it changes the way Washington manages. He can employ his more trustworthy relievers. Darvish is averaging seven innings per start; others just 51/3.

“It’s Major League Baseball,” Washington said. “Sometimes, he’s going to have to go out there and fight like he did tonight. He got us through five, six and seven. When you looked earlier in the game, you thought he might not get you that far. He battled. He kept us around. He showed heart out there.”

“I think the strike zone was a little bit smaller today, so I had to be creative,” Darvish said through an interpreter. “Earlier in the game, I was just throwing fastballs, but in the second and third, I started throwing cutters, sliders, splitters. I think that was a key to the game.”

It was a key to getting to stick around. It allowed Washington to turn the game over to Frasor, who got a necessary night off on Thursday after pitching on consecutive days.