Rapid Reaction: Rangers 5, Indians 2
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Ryan Dempster had a quality start and Adrian Beltre and Josh Hamilton hit home runs as the Rangers beat the Cleveland Indians, 5-2. But the injury bug also found Arlington as Beltre, Mike Olt and Hamilton all exited Wednesday's game early.
What it means: The Rangers are 85-57 and will stay at least three games up on the Oakland A's in the AL West, pending the result of the Angels-A's game later tonight.
Beltre exits with strain: Adrian Beltre left Wednesday's game with a left shoulder strain. He suffered the injury in the second inning, but stayed in the game until manager Ron Washington removed him in the fifth and put Mike Olt in at third base. Read more here.
Olt limps to first, comes out: Olt, who has battled plantar fasciitis the past few weeks, started limping before he reached the bag. He was taken out and replaced by Jurickson Profar and will get a precautionary MRI.
Hamilton, exits with sore knee: Hamilton was lifted in the eighth inning because of a sore left knee.
Third baseman Kinsler?: For the first time in his career, Ian Kinsler played in the field at a position other than second base. He moved to third base after Olt's injury. Profar played second. It was Kinsler's 887th game in the field and the first time he hasn't been at second.
Dempster delivers: Dempster earned his fifth straight win with his fifth straight quality start. He allowed two runs on seven hits in seven innings and had eight strikeouts and one walk. Dempster's pitch count climbed early, but he had some quicker innings to hang in through seven innings. He has now beaten Baltimore, Minnesota, Cleveland (twice) and Kansas City during this winning streak and has a 1.91 ERA in that span.
Club record in attendance: Wednesday's attendance was 36,001, meaning a total of 2,967,041 have come to Rangers games this season, a new single-season record. The club should pass the three million mark on Thursday.
40 doubles: Kinsler belted a double down the left-field line to start the game and is now one double shy of his career-high of 41 set in 2008. He scored on Hamilton's grounder. Kinsler came into this homestand hitting just .200 in his last 30 games, but has had a double in each of the last two games. He now has 94 runs scored, second in the AL.
Beltre keeps hitting long balls: Beltre hit his 32nd home run of the season, tying the second-most of his career. Beltre had 48 homers in 2004 for the Dodgers. ... Beltre has homers in seven of the last 11 games. ... Coming into Wednesday's game, Beltre was batting .395 since Aug. 20 with 12 homers, seven doubles, two triples, 22 RBIs and 17 runs. He leads the majors in average, homers, extra-base hits, slugging and is second in RBIs in that span.
Grounder gets job done: Hamilton knew he just needed to get the ball to the outfield or the rigth side of the infield to score Kinsler in the first and did just that, hitting a changeup to second. That gave the Rangers an early lead.
Moonshot: Hamilton also delivered the long ball, crushing a 2-2 sinker that didn't sink into the second deck in right field. The Home Run Porch shot was an estimated 434 feet. It was his 121st RBI of the season and his 41st homer in 2012. Hamilton leads the league in both categories.
Dynamic duo: Wednesday was the 10th time this season that Hamilton and Beltre hit home runs in the same game. Four of those have occurred this month.
Getting out of a jam: Dempster gave up two singles and a walk to lead off the fourth inning but managed to allow just one run. He struck out Lonnie Chisenhall and got Casey Kotchman to hit a ground ball up the middle. Elvis Andrus made a nice play to get to it, flipped to Kinsler, but his relay throw was wide, allowing a run to score. Dempster then retired Brent Lillibridge with a strike on the corner.
Uehara gets lefties: Koji Uehara came in and faced three left-handed batters (Carlos Santana is a switch hitter who batted lefty) and retired all of them. He got Jason Kipnis out on a strikeout. Uehara's ability to get lefties out will be a factor in whether he makes the postseason squad. But the splitter was working Wednesday and has lately for him.
Tidbits: Geovany Soto threw out a baserunner in the third inning (Shin-Soo Choo). It was his second caught stealing this season in 26 attempts. ... Andrus' single in the first means he has hit safely in 31 career games versus Cleveland, a club record for the longest hit streak against one opponent.
Up next: LHP Derek Holland (10-6, 4.59 ERA) vs. RHP Zach McAllister (5-7, 4.31 ERA) in the series-finale at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and FSSW.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.