Texas Rangers add Yankees to club-record series roll

ARLINGTON -- Winning series is what the Texas Rangers want to do. That's the formula for success in the big leagues, and the Rangers know it better than anybody.

They've followed through on that mantra, too. The Rangers have started the season with six series wins after they took two of three from the Yankees with a 7-3 victory on Wednesday night.

The six series wins to start the season is a franchise record, passing the five straight they won to open the 1989 season.

"That's exactly our mindset, we've got to win series," Adrian Beltre said. "We've played really tough teams -- Boston, Detroit and the Yankees --- and still won series. It's going to be a hard test the whole year, but hopefully we can keep playing the way we're playing."

Beltre paced the offense, going 3 for 5 with three RBIs, including a 441-foot solo home run to straightaway center field to lead off the second. Mike Napoli and Mitch Moreland also swatted solo shots for the Rangers, who are averaging a major league-high 5.63 runs a game.

Reliever Robbie Ross got the victory, his fourth of the season. Ross relieved spot starter Scott Feldman in the fourth, and retired the next eight batters in a perfect 2 2/3-inning outing.

The four wins leads the major leagues, and Ross -- who trots out to the bullpen in a cowboy outfit and pink backpack prior to every game -- is the first reliever in baseball history to win four games in his first six career appearances.

"Aw, man," Feldman said. "He's on pace for what, like, 30 wins now? He just keeps it going. I think it might be the cowboy outfit."

Ross can't believe it either. He's not bribing manager Ron Washington to pitch in those win situations, but has done the job when called upon.

He retired the final two batters of the fourth, then worked two quick innings against the Yankees' Nos. 1-6 batters.

"I didn't expect anything like this," said Ross, a 22-year-old rookie. "It's been awesome so far, and I'm trying to do the best I can every time."

With Ross bridging the middle-inning gap, the Rangers were able to piece the pitching staff together. Neftali Feliz, who is being skipped this time through the starting rotation, gave up a run on a solo homer in the seventh.

Mike Adams had a perfect eighth, and Joe Nathan worked around a one-out double in a non-save situation in the ninth.

"We got a lead and held on," Washington said. "We've got a very good bullpen."

Feldman gave the Rangers what they needed in a spot start. He went 3 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on six hits with one walk and three strikeouts.

Beltre gave the Rangers an early 1-0 lead with his blast in the second. Texas extended its lead to 4-0 with three runs in the third, including run-scoring hits by Beltre and Michael Young.

After the Yankees pulled to within 4-2 in the fourth, Napoli curled an opposite-field homer inside the right-field foul pole in the bottom half.

The Rangers cushioned their lead with two more runs in the sixth, with their final run coming on Beltre's RBI single after the Yankees intentionally walked Josh Hamilton for the second time of the night.

The intentional walks didn't surprise Beltre, who was playing in his second game after being sidelined for three days with mild inflammation in his left hamstring area.

"Hamilton is Hamilton," Beltre said. "He's probably the most dangerous player right now, and I'm coming off a nagging hamstring."

Beltre and the Rangers made it a costly decision for the Yankees, of course, as they enjoyed another series win.

"We're happy with the way we're playing right now," Young said. "Having said that, we put it all behind us. We'll enjoy our off day and be ready to play on Friday. We're not thinking of anything happening in the past, we're just thinking about constant improvement."

Drew Davison


Twitter: @drewdavison

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