ARLINGTON – Ryan Dempster won his fifth consecutive start, Josh Hamilton drove in two more runs and the Texas Rangers went on to a 5-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
Adrian Beltre had a two-run homer in the first inning, too, and made a great defensive stop on a sharp grounder by Russ Canzler in the second inning. But, it was on that play, that Beltre suffered a left shoulder strain.
Beltre had a precautionary MRI taken, but results won’t be known until Thursday. That news overshadowed the Rangers’ seventh win of their last 10 games. Texas will maintain at least a three-game lead in the American League West over Oakland, which played third-place Anaheim late Wednesday.
Beltre played through the fourth inning before being replaced by Mike Olt, who wound up exiting with a plantar fasciitis in the seventh inning. The television broadcast showed Beltre attempting to talk manager Ron Washington into letting him stay in the game, but the Rangers have taken the safe road all season with their players.
The injury news didn't stop there. Josh Hamilton exited with soreness in his left knee, and is listed day to day.
Beltre highlighted a three-run first inning for the Rangers against Indians starter Jeanmar Gomez. Ian Kinsler led off with a double, moved to third on a single by Elvis Andrus and scored on a fielder’s choice grounder by Hamilton. Beltre then sent a rocket over the left-field fence for a two-run homer, his second blast in as many days.
Hamilton extended Texas’ lead to 4-0 in the third with a solo shot that landed in the home run porch in right.
Cleveland didn’t get anything going against Dempster until the fourth when it loaded the bases with no outs. But Dempster minimized damage, allowing only one run to score on a grounder.
The Rangers got that run back in the bottom half on a sacrifice fly by Geovany Soto.
The Indians threatened again in the fifth when the first two batters reached, but Dempster limited it to a single run once again to keep the Rangers in front 5-2.
Dempster worked perfect sixth and seventh innings, allowing two runs on seven hits with one walk and eight strikeouts for his night. Koji Uehara worked a scoreless eighth, and Joe Nathan closed out the ninth for his 33rd save.
Finally, it’s worth noting, there was an announced crowd of 36,001 at Rangers Ballpark. That gives the Rangers 2,967,041 for the season, a club record.-- Drew Davison