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Rapid Reaction: Rangers 7, Yankees 3

4/26/2012

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers scored four runs off Yankees' starter Phil Hughes and never looked back, winning the final game of the three-game series, 7-3 in front of a sellout crowd of 47,942. Texas' win coupled with the Angels' loss to Tampa Bay puts the Rangers 8.5 games up on the Angels. They remain 5.5 up on the A's, the largest lead in any division. Some quick thoughts on the game:

What it means: The Rangers have won six straight series to start the season, a club record. They have also won 12 consecutive regular-season series dating back to last year. That's also the longest streak in club history. The 15-4 start is the best 19-game start in club history.

Beltre's big night: Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre had three RBIs on Wednesday, including a homer (see below) and proved once again to be a key cog in the Rangers' lineup. The Yankees tried to work around Josh Hamilton, and Beltre made that very difficult. He did appear to be running less than 100 percent (still hard, mind you, just not using the afterburners) on the bases, a smart move considering he's trying to be careful with the mild inflammation in his left hamstring.

Crushed to Greene's Hill: Beltre's homer on the first pitch he saw from Hughes was hit an estimated 441 feet to center. It was well up Greene's Hill, which isn't easy to do.

Dazzling double play: Hamilton made yet another MVP-type play in the field, diving to catch Raul Ibanez's fly ball in the second inning. Hamilton popped up and fired a one-bouncer to first base to double up Mark Teixeira, who scampered back and tried to slide into the bag to beat the throw. He couldn't and the DP ended the inning.

Intentional walks: Hamilton was intentionally walked for the first time all season to load the bases with one out in the fourth inning. I was surprised it's the first time that's happened to Hamilton in 2012 with all the numbers he's putting up. But the Yankees took their chances with Beltre and then Michael Young and managed to get out of the inning with no further damage done. ... The Yankees tried it again in the sixth and this time it didn't work out as Beltre singled to drive in Ian Kinsler with the seventh run of the game.

Ross keeps riding ... to 4 wins: Maybe this cowboy thing before games is a lucky charm for Robbie Ross. The rookie pitcher, who has to dress up in a cowboy costume complete with stuffed horse, pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings. His ERA is now 2.25. He has four relief wins in his first six appearances, a major league record according to ESPN Stats & Information (16 pitchers were tied at three wins previously).

Feldman can't quite go four: Washington was hoping for four innings from Scott Feldman. And it looked like that was possible as he went into the inning at 50 pitches. But Feldman started to lose command. He gave up two singles -- one after he had to dodge a broken bat -- and then a double to Ibanez that ended his night after 62 pitches (41 strikes). Still, it wasn't a bad outing for the long reliever -- just a little shorter than the Rangers had hoped.

Opposite-field power: Right-handed hitter Mike Napoli hit one the other way down the right field line for a homer to give the Rangers a 5-2 lead. Napoli had struck out five times in eight at-bats in the series before that homer (356 feet).

Tidbits: Derek Jeter hit .615 (8-for-13...after three innings) in the series. ... Neftali Feliz pitched one inning and allowed a leadoff home run to Ibanez, but then got the next three batters he faced. Feliz is slated to start again Tuesday in Toronto. ... With a four-run lead in the eighth inning, Washington put Craig Gentry in center field and moved Josh Hamilton to left. ... Joe Nathan pitched in the ninth despite a four-run lead, though Washington likes to use his closer in those situations to make sure the game gets finished. Nathan did the job Wednesday.

Up next: The Rangers are off Thursday and then host the Tampa Bay Rays for three games. The Rays have taken the first two from the Angels in Tampa and play the finale of the series Thursday.