Beltre homers to lead Rangers over Astros 4-1

The Associated Press
Beltre homers to lead Rangers over Astros 4-1
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Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, left, goes high for the catch as Texas Rangers' Josh Hamilton (32) steals second base in the third inning of a baseball game, Friday, May 18, 2012, in Houston. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan)

HOUSTON (AP) Rangers starter Neftali Feliz couldn't locate his pitches Friday night. The relievers who came out of Texas' bullpen had no problem in that area, though.

Adrian Beltre homered and drove in two runs and Michael Young broke out of a slump with two hits and an RBI to lift the Rangers to a 4-1 win over the Houston Astros.

Feliz allowed three hits and a run with five walks in 4 2-3 innings - his shortest start of the year.

''It all comes down to, he just couldn't command the baseball and he just couldn't find the rhythm that he needed,'' Texas manager Ron Washington said.

Feliz was relieved by Robbie Ross (5-0), who allowed one hit in 2 1-3 innings for the win.

Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth for his ninth save. He has appeared in four straight games for the first time since September 2009.

''Showed me the professional he is, showed me the great teammate that he is, showed me that he will do whatever he has to do to make things happen for his team,'' Washington said. ''We certainly appreciate what he's done because we called on him way beyond his duty the past few days.''

Nathan doesn't mind pitching several days in a row.

''It's a situation where I'm feeling better now, feeling stronger and I think everybody here is getting more comfortable with putting me out there on consecutive days,'' he said.

The Rangers were up 3-1 when Beltre belted his eighth homer, a two-out solo shot to left-center in the seventh inning. Beltre, who has a season-high nine-game hitting streak, put Texas on top 1-0 in the third with a sacrifice fly. He also doubled in the fifth and scored on Young's double to make it 3-1.

Young entered the game in a 0-for-11 slide and was 5 for 41 with one RBI in his previous nine games.

Facing a left-handed starter for the seventh time in their last 12 games, the Rangers got to Wandy Rodriguez (3-4) for a season-high 10 hits and three runs in six innings.

Josh Hamilton went 1 for 5, a day after his 16-game hitting streak ended. Ian Kinsler added three hits for the Rangers.

The crowd of 34,715 was much larger than what Houston has been drawing this season. Many fans were rooting for the Rangers, with chants of ''Let's go Rangers!'' breaking out sporadically and bellows of ''Cruuuuuz'' filling the park each time right fielder Nelson Cruz was at the plate. Some of the loudest cheers of the night came when Texas president Nolan Ryan, who pitched for both the Astros and Rangers, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

Kinsler opened the third inning with a double, which bounced off the wall in center field. Hamilton singled with one out before Kinsler scored on the sacrifice fly by Beltre to make it 1-0. Hamilton stole second base before scoring on a single by Cruz to put Texas up 2-0.

Jose Altuve walked in the third and scored on a two-out single by Jed Lowrie to get Houston within 2-1.

Beltre and Young hit consecutive one-out doubles to tack on a run in the fifth.

Altuve walked in the fifth and a walk by Lowrie with two outs chased Feliz. He was replaced by Ross, who retired Brian Bogusevic to end the inning.

Bogusevic singled with one out in the second. Feliz then plunked Chris Johnson in the back with a pitch before walking Jason Castro. Feliz worked out of the bases-loaded jam with a strikeout by Rodriguez and a flyout by Jordan Schafer.

''We had guys on base, but when you play teams like this you have to get that big hit,'' Johnson said. ''You have to get some runs across. One run isn't going to cut it.''

Feliz said through a translator that he was frustrated and felt uncomfortable because of his lack of command.

NOTES: The bat that Hamilton used when he hit four homers on May 8 at Baltimore arrived at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum on Friday. ... Schafer got his 13th stolen base in the first inning. ... Houston is the 14th different team the Rangers have played to start the season. Texas is the first team in major league history to begin a season playing a different opponent in each of its first 14 series, according to information provided by the Rangers from the Elias Sports Bureau. ... The series continues Saturday when Texas left-hander Derek Holland faces Lucas Harrell. ... The Astros have sold the rights of Triple-A Oklahoma City RHP Henry Sosa to the Kia Tigers of the Korean Baseball Organization.