video thumbnail

CLE@TEX: Rangers put up an eight-spot in the fourth

ARLINGTON -- Striding to the plate in the fourth inning with the bases loaded in Wednesday's 9-1 win against the Indians at The Ballpark in Arlington, Josh Hamilton could only think of one thing.

"CC Carpet," Hamilton said.

The Dallas carpeting company had signed a sponsorship agreement with Hamilton and run numerous local commercials offering to refund their recent flooring and countertop sales if Hamilton hit a grand slam.

"The situation doesn't come up that often, and when it does, you can't help but think about it," Hamilton said.

Hamilton was able to make all the CC Carpet customers who bought and installed flooring and countertops since Aug. 29 happy, slicing a ball from Indians starter David Huff over the out-of-town scoreboard for his third career grand slam. It topped off an eight-run Rangers fourth and staked starter Derek Holland to more than enough run support.

The Rangers pounded 12 hits -- the seventh consecutive game the team has registered 12 or more, setting a franchise record and becoming the first American League team to do it since Baltimore in May 2004.

Most importantly, the win ensures that the Rangers' lead in the AL West stays at three games, as they matched the Angels' 4-1 win over the A's earlier in the day. Texas also improved to 8-1 against Cleveland on the season.

"There's a reason why they're first in their division," Huff said. "They're that good. They've been taking it to us every night."

"Up and down the lineup, we're getting it done," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Everybody is doing their part. The substitutes are doing their part, the regulars are doing their part, and it couldn't happen at a better time of the year."

Hamilton has hit home runs in each of the last two games, signs that the hot streak Washington has been waiting for all season could be on the horizon.

"The last two or three days, I've felt back to my old self," Hamilton said. "See it if it's up, swing at it. If it's not, try to let it go and get on base for [Michael Young] and Adrian [Beltre] to drive me in."

The Rangers also got home runs from Ian Kinsler and Mike Napoli. In all, the long ball accounted for seven of the Rangers' nine runs.

Napoli's home run was his 26th of the season, tying last year's mark for his career high. In an offense full of contributors, Napoli has been able to stand out, despite sharing the catching duties with Yorvit Torrealba. His .310 average is 37 points higher than his previous career high, set in 2008 for the Angels.

"It's obvious the numbers he's putting up," Washington said. "He certainly can't run and he's hitting .300, so that tells you he's swinging the bat well. He's not missing mistakes. Maybe he got rejuvenated coming over here. We're happy to have him, and he's certainly producing for us."

While recent CC Carpet customers will remember this game for one reason, the Rangers' organization may remember it for something entirely different -- Wednesday's start was the fourth consecutive quality start for Holland, a career high.

"He's growing," Washington said. "He's been through it with us last year but out of the bullpen in a different way. I don't want to get too far ahead of myself, but when you look at him out there, he's a little hoss. He's strong. He doesn't look like the season's taking a toll on him, all he's doing is getting better."

Earlier in the season, Holland was just as likely to pitch a shutout as he was to leave before the sixth inning having given up five or more earned runs, doing both four times apiece.

Holland heard all the whispers about his consistency but believes the worst is past him.

"I know that talks always have been, 'Can Derek do it or not? He's always been hot or cold,'" Holland said. "It's like flipping a coin, is what [one beat writer] told me. I think I feel pretty consistent now. I feel pretty good about myself."

Holland is 8-1 with a 2.74 ERA over his last 13 starts, and he seems to be growing more comfortable in the starting rotation. He allowed just one earned run, on a solo home run by Lonnie Chisenhall in the fifth, going seven innings and allowing six hits and three walks against six strikeouts.

Nelson Cruz made his first pinch-hit appearance since being activated from the disabled list Tuesday, striking out in the eighth.

Beltre extending his hitting streak to a career-high 18 games with a double in the second inning. He's hitting .397 during that stretch. Comments