Beltre, Hamilton injuries overshadow victory

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Texas Rangers beat the Cleveland Indians 5-2 Wednesday night but might not know the real result of the game until later this week.

That’s because even though the Rangers won to drop their magic number to clinching the American League West to 18, they played part of the game without most valuable player candidates Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre. Each of them left with injuries.

Beltre strained his left shoulder making a diving stop on a grounder in the second inning. He had already homered in the game and stayed in the contest until the fifth inning before leaving. He had a precautionary MRI but the results won’t be known until Thursday.

Hamilton, who also homered in the third inning, left the game after seven innings because of a sore left knee. Hamilton is day-to-day and manager Ron Washington doesn’t think it’s a serious injury.

Neither Hamilton nor Beltre were in the clubhouse after the game. While Washington would like to have both players back as soon as possible, he knows the team must move forward.

“We’ll piece what we’ve got together and we’re going to go out there and fight with what we have,” Washington said. “Hopefully things don’t last long on those guys. But we can’t stop the season. I can’t make a call to MLB and stop it, so we’re going to play. And we’re going to play with what we’ve got, and I expect us go out there and win. That’s what we’re going to do.”

If those two injuries weren’t bad enough the Rangers were already without reliever Mike Adams (tight right trap) and lost Mike Olt to an injury in the bottom of the seventh. Olt had been slowed by plantar fasciitis in his right foot. He will have an MRI Thursday.

“Once I came out of the box I felt something let go when I put pressure on it,” said Olt. “Once it happened I couldn’t put any pressure on it and I had to limp over there. This isn’t the way I wanted to start my career.”

The injuries forced the Rangers to shift Ian Kinsler to third for the first time in his major-league career. He appeared in one game at third in the minors.

The injuries overshadowed another solid pitching performance from Ryan Dempster (11-6). The right-hander won his fifth-consecutive start by pitching seven innings and allowing two earned runs. He has a 1.91 ERA during the run with 36 strikeouts in 33 innings. He struck out eight Wednesday and didn’t allow a run until the fourth inning. By that time the Rangers had already scored four times off Cleveland starter Jeanmar Gomez.

The Indians had base runners on in the second, third, fourth and fifth innings against Dempster but couldn’t get him out of the game. He followed that up by retiring the final nine batters he faced.

“Especially in the fourth they were hitting ground balls in the right spot,” Dempster said. “If a couple of balls would have been two feet to the left, they would have been tailor-made double plays balls. Instead they were a little harder hit balls. I kept trying to make pitches and that’s a nice part when you have a lead. You can manage an inning.”

The lead for Dempster came in the first on a fielder’s choice RBI grounder from Hamilton that put Texas up 1-0. Beltre followed with his 31st homer of the season, a 397-foot shot to left that put Texas up 3-0.

But Beltre’s night turned in the next inning when Russ Canzler hit a grounder to third with one out. Beltre dove and made the play but hurt his shoulder.

Even with the injuries, the Rangers managed 11 hits and moved 28 games over .500 for the first time all year. Now they just have to play the waiting game.

“Hopefully they’re okay,” said Kinsler, who doubled and scored in the first. “Hopefully it’s just precautionary, get them out of the game, make sure they’re okay, maybe one day, something like that. To see those two guys (Beltre, Hamilton) leave the game, obviously Mike Olt, Mike Adams is down. We ran into a little bit of an injury bug, but hopefully we can get over that pretty quickly.”