Texas Rangers split with Detroit, but injury bug bites

Posted Sunday, Apr. 22, 2012  comments  Print Reprints
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DETROIT -- Game 1 of a doubleheader Saturday saw the Texas Rangers score eight runs in the first inning and left-hander Matt Harrison improve to 3-0.

Josh Hamilton had a three-run homer, and Mike Napoli homered for a fifth straight game as the Rangers beat Detroit 10-4 and ran their winning streak to eight games.

Game 2 was a pitchers' duel that saw Neftali Feliz toss his first complete game as a professional but lose 3-2 to Tigers ace Justin Verlander.

But all of the superlatives in the doubleheader split were overshadowed by the first play of the second inning of Game 1, which ended with Adrian Beltre holding onto his left hamstring at second base.

The injury to the All-Star third baseman is the first obstacle the hottest team in baseball has encountered through the first two-plus weeks of the season.

Beltre doesn't believe the injury is as serious as the one he suffered in the same leg last year, when he missed more than a month, and he hopes to return to the lineup during the Rangers' upcoming series against the Yankees in Arlington.

"I don't think it's quite as bad like last year," Beltre said. "It didn't grab me that much. I don't think it's bad. Hopefully, that's the case."

Beltre was out of the lineup for Game 2. The Tigers scored all three runs in Game 2 in the fourth against Feliz, who hit one and walked three in the inning after retiring the first 10 hitters of the game.

The spurt erased a 1-0 lead against Verlander, who allowed four hits in six innings. The Rangers' offense has given Feliz (1-1) only four runs of support in his three starts.

"I lost my control a little bit and just couldn't get it back," Feliz said of the fourth inning. "I tried to regain my focus and keep my pitches low. That seemed to work out."

The Rangers had the tying run at second base twice in the ninth inning against Jose Valverde, but Elvis Andrus lined out and Hamilton struck out for a fourth time.

"He's got me before, and I've gotten him before," Hamilton said. "It's not the first time I've struck out four times in a game, and it won't be the last."

Beltre singled in his first at-bat in Game 1 as the Rangers built an 8-0 lead, and sent a fly ball into left field to start the second inning. Tigers left fielder Delmon Young had a long run for the ball, and Beltre saw an opportunity to take second base.

He did, easily, but felt his hamstring tighten as he accelerated between first and second. Manager Ron Washington, first-base coach Gary Pettis and trainer Jamie Reed went to check on Beltre, who was removed for Alberto Gonzalez.

"He didn't want to walk off the field," Washington said. "He said, 'I'll be careful.' The man has pride. But we weren't going to let that happen. It's cold out there. If it's slight, we want to keep it slight."

The Rangers were without Beltre from July 23 to Aug. 31 last season. He was headed toward a rehab assignment Aug. 6 when he aggravated the injury while running the bases in his final test.

He wants to return to the lineup, and he will be more cautious when he does.

"Last year, when it first happened, I new it was good enough when I first came back, but I guess I pushed it too much to show them it was fine," Beltre said. "Hopefully, it'll be a couple days, two to four days. I don't want to miss a lot of games, especially with the way we're playing right now."

The Rangers ran their winning streak to eight games by pouncing on Rick Porcello. Hamilton's homer, his sixth, traveled 389 feet and was part of an opening stretch in which the first seven Rangers reached base.

They eventually all scored as 12 batters went to the plate.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @JeffWilson_FWST

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