ARLINGTON -- Better days are ahead for Ryan Dempster over his next two months as the Texas Rangers' rotation rental.
But that's based solely on the assumption that things can't go much worse than his debut Thursday night.
He gave up eight runs in 4 2/3 innings Thursday night, squandering an early four-run lead, but left Rangers Ballpark with a no-decision.
The Rangers bailed out their newcomer as their once-dormant bats remained hot. The coldest of the Rangers' hitters had his most productive game in more than a month.
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Josh Hamilton drove in four runs, including two with a two-out double in the seventh inning, as the Rangers outslugged Anaheim 15-9 to salvage a split of their four-game series.
The American League West standings look the same as they did entering the series, with the Rangers holding a five-game lead over the Angels.
The Rangers' offense, though, looks entirely different.
"I think we have swung the bat last night and tonight the way we're capable of," manager Ron Washington said. "The bottom line is we want to win a game tonight. We certainly did everything we could to do that."
And Dempster, for one, was grateful.
"Obviously, I wish I would have had better results," Dempster said. "I didn't execute some pitches. The most important thing is I kept the team in the game, and gave them a chance to win. I'm not used to doing that when I give up eight runs."
The Rangers have scored 26 runs in August, a total they didn't reach last month until July 17. They posted double figures in consecutive games for the first time since May 7-8, the latter game being Hamilton's four-homer night.
Hamilton stayed in the ballpark Thursday, but drove in four runs since the first time since June 30. He finished the 10-game homestand with 10 RBIs and hits in six of his last 21 at-bats after opening at 1 for 14.
"I'm feeling better. I just need to go out there and have fun," Hamilton said.
"That's what we're capable of. It's been awhile since we've put up a couple games like that."
Mitch Moreland put the Rangers ahead for good with a pinch single in the four-run seventh, which included Elvis Andrus' second RBI ahead of Hamilton's liner to the 407-feet sign in center field.
Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz had home runs, and Michael Young added a two-run single in a five-run second that staked Dempster to a 6-2 lead.
The right-hander allowed two homers, including a solo shot by Mark Trumbo as the Angels scored twice in the first inning. Kinsler, though, collected his 24th career leadoff homer to start a rough night for C.J. Wilson.
The left-hander allowed five runs in a 36-pitch second inning that included a single by Mike Olt in his first big-league at-bat. Kinsler had an RBI single, and Hamilton followed with a two-run single two batters later. Young's single came with two outs.
Anaheim, though, would take a 7-6 lead after scoring once in the third and three times in the fourth. Cruz evened things with a 419-foot shot in the bottom half, but Dempster coughed up another run in the fifth before exiting at 103 pitches on a 102-degree night.
"He had a good breaking ball and a good split, but he started elevating the ball a little bit," Washington said. "It was one of those nights that if you got the ball in the air to right field, it didn't come down. We'll see what happens the next time he takes the ball."
The Rangers drew even in the sixth after Kinsler and Elvis Andrus opened with doubles, and the pulled away in a seventh-inning rally sparked by pinch hits from Moreland and David Murphy.
They tacked on three more in the eighth to post the most runs allowed by the Angels this season.
"We fought like champs," Washington said. "We're not going away, they're not going to go away, and Oakland's probably not going away. It's going to be who plays the best going down the stretch, and we certainly intend to be there."
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760