ARLINGTON -- Ian Kinsler found himself in unfamiliar territory, but one that he welcomed.
Kinsler played the final two innings at third base Wednesday but didn't get to make a play in the Texas Rangers' 5-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
"I just wanted a chance at something, show off my arm, you know?" Kinsler said, smiling.
Kinsler, of course, enjoyed being at the hot corner for the first time in his big league career after playing there sparingly in the minor leagues. But the reasons Kinsler found himself there weren't a laughing matter.
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Adrian Beltre, the Rangers' Gold Glover, exited after four innings with a left shoulder strain. Beltre came down with the injury after making a great diving stop on a sharp grounder by Indians designated hitter Russ Canzler for the second out in the second inning.
Beltre had a precautionary MRI taken, but the results won't be known until today. Mike Olt replaced Beltre but left in the seventh inning with plantar fasciitis in his right heel.
Olt was injured running out an infield single.
"Obviously this isn't the way I want to start my career," said Olt, who has been dealing with the injury for the past month. "But they said this could be the best thing that happened to it. I'll get an MRI [today] and see what happens from there."
The injury hits kept coming for the Rangers, who learned before the game they would be without setup man Mike Adams (tight trapezius muscle in back of right shoulder) for a few days.
Josh Hamilton exited after seven innings with soreness in his left knee, although that is considered a minor setback.
"Hopefully they're OK," Kinsler said. "We ran into a little injury bug, but hopefully we can get out of it pretty quickly."
The injuries overshadowed the Rangers' seventh win in their last 10 games and on a night they set the franchise's single-season attendance record of 2,967,041 with an announced crowd of 36,001 at Rangers Ballpark.
Texas also maintained a three-game lead in the American League West over Oakland, which defeated Anaheim late Wednesday.
Even though they didn't finish the game, Beltre and Hamilton certainly put the Rangers in position to win.
Beltre highlighted a three-run first inning with a two-run blast off Indians starter Jeanmar Gomez. It was Beltre's second homer in as many nights.
Hamilton extended Texas' lead to 4-0 in the third with a solo shot that landed in the home run porch in right.
Those four runs were enough for Ryan Dempster, who didn't run into trouble until the fourth inning.
The Indians loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth, but Dempster minimized damage. Cleveland scored only once on a fielder's choice grounder. In the fifth, the Indians' first two batters reached, but Dempster allowed only a single run once again.
"Inning management is just as important as making pitches," said Dempster, who won his fifth consecutive start. "I just kept trying to make pitches, and it's a nice perk when you have a lead."
Dempster finished his night with perfect sixth and seventh innings. He allowed two runs on seven hits with one walk and eight strikeouts and is now 6-1 in eight starts with Texas. The seven hits Dempster allowed were all singles.
Wins at this point in the season are critical, and manager Ron Washington doesn't see his team slowing down even with a few players dealing with injuries.
"We'll piece what we got together, and we'll fight with what we have," Washington said. "Hopefully things don't last long on those guys, but we certainly can't stop the season. We're going to play with what we got, and we're going to go out there and expect to win."
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760