ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Texas Rangers entered Tuesday leading the major leagues in hits and tied for the lead in doubles. Their offense ranked second in three key categories and third in two others.
They had scored seven runs in four straight games, their longest stretch on the road in nearly two years. Since July 1, they were hitting a baseball-best .305.
But manager Ron Washington said that the offense has been less efficient than it was in 2010. The problem has been with execution, which he said was "way better" last year.
This year, though, it has been better of late.
"They're starting to see what wins and loses ballgames," Washington said. "It's not always base hits. If you look at the box score, it could have been a ground ball that made the difference.
"It's better, but it's still inconsistent. We're aware of that. But the good thing is they figure out a way."
The Rangers showed that Monday night in the series opener at Angel Stadium.
Elvis Andrus drove in the first run on a groundout and put down two sacrifice bunts. There were multiple occasions when a batter hit the ball to the right side of the infield to move a runner from second to third base.
Nelson Cruz and Mike Napoli had back-to-back homers in the fifth inning, showing that the Rangers can win with small ball and the long ball.
"If you watch us on a consistent basis, whatever the game asks us to do -- that's the way Wash puts it -- we can do it," second baseman Ian Kinsler said.
Big A is A-OK
Ian Kinsler had four hits Monday to raise his career average at Angel Stadium to .371 (46 for 124), the highest average for any visiting player with at least 100 at-bats since the ballpark opened in 1966.
But the two-time All-Star couldn't identify a single reason for his success. He speculated that the ideal playing conditions make things easier and that the lighting system is similar to Rangers Ballpark, where has a .309 career average.
He also suggested that he likes to beat good teams and might raise his focus level against the Angels. He's a career .319 hitter against the American League West rival.
"But I don't know why I don't hit well at Yankee Stadium," said Kinsler, a .245 hitter at New York.
Beltre runs again
Third baseman Adrian Beltre was back on the field jogging for a second straight day as he recovers from a strained left hamstring.
Beltre ran at around 40 to 50 percent, did some stretching and worked with weights for the first time since the new injury was suffered Aug. 7. He said that he will work as hard as his leg will allow, but isn't planning any drastic changes from the path he took while recovering from the initial injury July 23.
"I'm just going to go day by day," Beltre said. "If it feels stronger and has energy to do something, I'll do it."
The Rangers signed 27 of 51 picks from this year's draft but failed to sign their fifth-, sixth- and seventh-round selections before Monday's deadline to lock up players or lose their rights.
The Rangers spent Monday negotiating primarily with seventh-rounder Max Pentecost, a prep catcher, late into the night before he opted to attend Kennesaw State.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760