Rapid Reaction: Rangers 7, Royals 6

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Texas Rangers got another strong start from Ryan Dempster and used homers by Adrian Beltre and Michael Young to fuel the offense en route to a 7-5 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday night.

What it means: The Rangers pick up a game on Oakland and lead the American League West by five games with 26 to play. Texas is 81-55, equaling the best mark in franchise history through 136 games. The 1999 Rangers were also 81-55.

Dempster shines: Dempster allowed just four hits and two runs through six innings for his fourth quality start in a row. He leads the Rangers with five wins since he was acquired from the Chicago Cubs on July 31.

Beltre again: Adrian Beltre continued his hot hitting with a three-run homer in the first inning off spot starter Everett Teaford. Beltre has 10 homers in his last 14 games and the Rangers are now 24-3 when he goes deep. After being silenced most of the way in Tuesday’s game, the Beltre-led Rangers managed to give Dempster ample breathing room before he ever took the mound.

Lost runner: It didn’t officially go down as a pickoff, but Ian Kinsler made an out on the bases for the second night in a row. Kinsler had a leadoff double in the third, but later broke early for third as Teaford held the ball rather than delivering to the plate. Teaford got the ball to third baseman Mike Moustakas, who ran Beltre back toward second and tagged him out. The play went down as Kinsler being caught stealing. Texas has been picked off a major league high 12 times this season.

Running Royals: With Eric Hosmer’s two stolen bases Wednesday, Rangers opponents are now 21-of-21 in steal attempts dating to Aug. 6 when Mike Napoli threw out Ryan Kalish trying to steal second. That’s an area the Rangers will be looking to clean up as they head down the stretch. Manager Ron Washington said recently he’s confident in Geovany Soto’s throwing.

Strikeout streak: With Dempster ringing up eight strikeouts Wednesday, the Rangers now have a streak of 21 consecutive games with six or more strikeouts. The club record is 23, which was set June 9-July 4 this season. Swing-and-miss stuff always matters, particularly at playoff time.

Power surge: Michael Young has made a big contribution to the Rangers’ power display in this series. Texas has eight homers combined in the three games thus far and Young has two of them after hitting his sixth of the year off Vin Mazzaro in the seventh inning.

Up next: RHP Scott Feldman will be looking for his first victory since Aug. 4 when he takes on the Royals, who will go with RHP Luke Hochevar on Thursday in the series finale.