ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre homered before each left the game with injuries, and the Texas Rangers beat the slumping Cleveland Indians 5-2 Wednesday night.
Hamilton didn’t take the field in the top of the eighth inning, and the Rangers announced just before the game ended that the slugger was forced out because of left knee soreness.
Beltre hit a two-run homer in the first, his 13th in his last 20 games, before exiting in the fifth with a strained left shoulder.
Ryan Dempster (11-6) won his fifth straight start and improved to 6-1 since he was acquired by the Rangers on July 31. The right-hander allowed two runs and struck out eight in seven innings.
Hamilton hit a solo shot in the third. He leads the majors with 41 home runs and 121 RBIs.
Carlos Santana and Casey Kotchman each had an RBI for Cleveland, which led the AL Central on June 23 but is 15-43 since the All-Star break.
Cleveland starter Jeanmar Gomez (5-8) allowed five runs and six hits in four innings. Gomez, who won his prior two starts against Texas this season, has not pitched more than six innings in his last nine starts.
Joe Nathan, who has converted his last 31 save opportunities, pitched the ninth for his 33rd save of the season.
Texas started the day three games ahead of Oakland in the AL West. The A’s played the Los Angeles Angels in a game late Wednesday.
Beltre injured his shoulder when he made a diving stop of Russ Canzler’s grounder in the second. He stayed in the game until the fifth. The Rangers announced that Beltre will have a precautionary MRI later Wednesday night.
Mike Olt, who replaced Beltre at third, left the game in the bottom of the seventh. Olt was limping just before he reached first beating out an infield single.
Ian Kinsler moved to third base for the first time in his career in the top of the eighth, and Jurickson Profar took over for Kinsler at second base.
Kinsler led off the bottom of the first with a double and scored on Hamilton’s groundout to set the stage for a surging Beltre. Beltre hit a 1-0 pitch from Gomez over the fence in left to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead. It was his seventh home run in September.
Hamilton’s 434-foot blast landed several rows deep in the upper deck in right field. It was his fifth homer in his last 10 games.
That was plenty of support for Dempster, who retired the last nine batters he faced. Dempster has a 1.91 ERA over his last five starts. His eight strikeouts were his most since joining the Rangers.
Notes: Texas RHP Roy Oswalt (right forearm strain) said he plans to throw on Thursday. He left his start early Sunday against Tampa Bay. . Indians SS Asdrubal Cabrera (sore right wrist) took batting practice Wednesday, but missed his third straight game. . Cleveland RHP Roberto Hernandez (right ankle) is out of his walking boot and is expected to throw a bullpen session early next week. . Texas’ Mike Adams said he felt tightness in a muscle near his right shoulder Tuesday night and the reliever likely won’t pitch the next two to three days. . Cleveland’s Travis Hafner (back) is expected to take batting practice on Friday. . Texas opens the 2013 season at Houston, who will be playing their first season in the AL West.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.