ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—The Texas Rangers needed a five-homer game from an already-surging offense to cover up for their overtaxed pitching staff.
Hamilton went deep in his career-high fourth straight game one out after Ian Kinsler led off with a single to extend his career-best hitting streak to 18 games. Hamilton’s two-run drive gave him 17 homers and 67 RBIs, tops in the AL in both categories.
Bradley followed with his first of two homers, going back-to-back with Hamilton for the second time this season to help the Rangers end a two-game skid and return to .500 (30-30).
“Right now we have to swing the bats to win games,” Kinsler said. “That’s the approach we’re taking. We have to score a lot of runs. The pitching will come around. They’re just going through a rough time.”
Hamilton won AL Player of the Month for April and May, and he has a good start on June.
“It doesn’t matter what they’re throwing, he’s playing like Superman right now,” Murphy said.
“He’s swinging it better than anyone in baseball,” said Indians manager Eric Wedge, who ordered an intentional walk for Hamilton in the second inning, the first time Hamilton has received an intentional pass this season. “He’s an inspired player right now.”
Rangers pitchers had given up 26 runs in their previous two games, so Tuesday night represented a little progress.
The Texas bullpen, overworked because the starting pitching has been spotty, has allowed 20 runs in its last three games.
“We can’t keep going like that,” said Rangers manager Ron Washington, who added that he’ll have to bring up some relief help from the minors Wednesday. “We’re going to have to pitch well and catch the baseball. You can’t always outslug people. You wanna talk about adversity, we’ve been able to handle it. If we can make it through this stretch and get back to normal everything will be fine.”
Brandon Boggs added an RBI single against Tom Mastny (0-1), making his first major league start after 68 career relief appearances.
Mastny struggled through a 37-pitch first inning and lasted only 1 1-3 innings, allowing five runs and six hits. Mastny was replacing Jake Westbrook, who went on the disabled list Monday with an inflamed right elbow.
A disappointed Mastny said after the game that he’d been told he would be send down to Triple-A Buffalo on Wednesday.
“I tried to go out and give the team some innings but it didn’t work out,” Mastny said. “I’ve started before (in the minors). I just didn’t do my job. I’ll go to Triple-A and work on some things and try to get back here.”
Frank Francisco (1-1) allowed one run and one hit in 1 2-3 innings.
Rangers rookie A.J. Murray, called up from Triple-A Oklahoma to make his second major league start, exited in the third inning with a left rotator cuff strain. The Rangers said Murray would be out seven to 10 days and would then be re-evaluated.
Bradley’s solo shot in a three-run eighth extended Texas’ lead to 12-6.
Murray didn’t allow a run in the first two innings, but the Indians loaded the bases with nobody out in the third, then got an RBI single from Ben Francisco. After Ryan Garko was retired on a pop-up, Rangers trainers and Washington hurried to the mound where Murray told them he was unable to continue.
Texas increased its lead to 8-2 in the fifth on Kinsler’s sacrifice fly and Michael Young’s RBI double.
Young stretched his hitting streak to 19 games, longest in the AL this season and second-longest of his career behind a 25-gamer in 2005.
Pinch hitter Shin-shoo Choo had a two-run double in the seventh and a solo homer in the ninth. Ryan Garko’s RBI groundout in the eighth made it 9-6, but the Indians couldn’t get any closer.
“As tough as it was on us early, we had a couple of chances to get within one or two runs,” Wedge said. “We just couldn’t get it done.”
Garko had three hits. … The Rangers’ record for consecutive games with a homer is seven by Kevin Mench in April of 2006. … Texas was outscored 26-17 in its two previous games. … Kinsler’s stolen base in the second was his 22nd straight without being caught dating to 2007, with 16 coming this season. … Cleveland C Victor Martinez was out of the starting lineup for the second time in three games to protect his sore left hamstring. He walked as a pinch hitter in the seventh.