ARLINGTON -- Alexi Ogando didn't have any more wiggle room in the second inning.
Scott Feldman started warming in the bullpen, and Ogando's starting days the rest of the season seemed to be in question. He had loaded the bases by issuing walks to two of the first four batters, and his pitch count was climbing.
Even though he needed 39 pitches, Ogando got out of it by striking out the next two batters. After that, Ogando showed the stuff that made him an All-Star in helping the Rangers to a 7-4 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night at Rangers Ballpark.
Texas swept the three-game series against Cleveland, and took a 3 1/2-game lead over the Angels in the American League West with 12 games left. The Rangers are on a four-game winning streak, their longest since a six-game streak from Aug. 12-17.
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It all started with Ogando escaping the second-inning jam. With one out, he walked Shelley Duncan to load the bases, but remained unscathed by striking out Lonnie Chisenhall and Lou Marson. Manager Ron Washington later said Ogando was a batter away from being pulled.
"Sometimes during the game, you'll have times like that," Ogando said. "I was going too much to my left side on my fastball, and that's why I didn't have control. I was able to fix it, and get out of it."
Ogando retired 12 straight before giving up a one-out single to Jason Kipnis in the sixth. Ogando then induced an inning-ending double play grounder by Ezequiel Carrera.
Ogando was done after six scoreless innings, allowing two hits with two walks and four strikeouts to pick up win No. 13. Minus the 39-pitch second, he needed only 53 pitches for his other five innings. It was his first scoreless start since he threw eight shutout innings against the Angels on July 19.
Washington said Ogando's rotation spot was never in jeopardy, and added that Ogando would make another start, although he didn't specify when.
"We'll wait and see, but it's on the schedule," Washington said. "He needed to have that start for himself. We have confidence in his ability. He needed to have it for himself."
Going into the start, Ogando had a 7.81 ERA over his last six starts, including a stretch in which one of his starts was skipped. Ogando, though, said he never lost confidence, and didn't feel as though he was pitching to stay in the rotation.
"I don't have control on that," Ogando said. "I try to do the best job that I can. I felt great tonight, and I think I can finish strong."
The Rangers' offense backed Ogando with another big inning.
With a 1-0 lead going into the fifth, Texas broke it open with five runs. Endy Chavez got it started, sliding into first base to reach on an infield single. Ian Kinsler then drew a walk, and Elvis Andrus advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt.
Cleveland intentionally walked Josh Hamilton to load the bases, but it backfired when Michael Young came through with a three-run double to left. Adrian Beltre made it a 6-0 lead with a two-run opposite-field shot into the Rangers bullpen.
"That was the obvious move [to walk Hamilton] because you want the righty-righty matchup," said Young, who passed the 100-RBI mark for the second time in his career. "I was just focusing on my job. At that point, we just wanted to get one across."
Hamilton added a solo shot in the seventh, his third consecutive game with a homer.
The Indians scored all four runs off the Rangers' bullpen in the late innings, but never truly threatened.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760