Though the Rangers never lost the early lead, Wednesday provided a pretty up and down game as Texas (85-57) defeated the Cleveland Indians 5-2, but a cloud of concern grew over the Rangers as three players left the game due to injury.
Two innings later, Hamilton earned his second RBI of the night on a blast of his own to the Hambone-familiar Home Run Porch in right field to put the Rangers up 4-0.
In the top of the fourth, Ryan Dempster, who had looked sharp through his first three innings, loaded the bases with no one out, but proceeded to strike out Lonnie Chisenhall and Brent Lillibridge, allowing only one run on a Casey Kotchman near-double play. 4-1 Rangers.
The Rangers hottest hitter, Beltre, left the game in the top of the fifth with shoulder soreness, an injury that either occurred on a nifty diving snag, throw to first put out in the in the top of the second or on a whiff on a Jeanmar Gomez pitch in the third. Beltre will undergo and MRI on Thursday.
The Indians answered again when Carlos Santana hit a sac fly to Hamilton in center who made a poor throw to the plate that barely made it to the mound. After the sac fly, Dempster and the bullpen sharpened up and kept the Indians scoreless through the next four innings.
Though he did not have a run or an RBI, David Murphy had a three hit night, one hit being by far the weirdest triple I’ve ever seen.
The injury bug bit the Rangers again when Mike Olt came up lame running to first on a single to a diving Jason Kipnis at second. Jurickson Profar came on as a pinch runner, moving Ian Kinsler to third for the first time in his major league career.
Hamilton left the game in the top of the ninth with a sore knee and was replaced by Craig Gentry in center field, though he was not needed. Joe Nathan notched his 33rd save, striking out two and getting the final out on a ground ball to Mitch Moreland at first.
Though none of the injuries seem to be overly concerning the Rangers, it will interesting to see the developments in the coming days. Don’t be surprised if Ron Washington does not shuffle out a prototypical lineup on Thursday.
With Wednesday’s win, the Rangers’ magic number drops to 18 and they now have 3.5 game lead in the AL West over the Athletics, who are playing a pacific coast game against the Angels.