ARLINGTON -- The streaks of Arlington moved onward and upward on Tuesday night at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Michael Young has a 19-game hitting streak, Ian Kinsler has hit in 18 straight games and stolen 22 straight bases, and Josh Hamilton has now hit a home run in four straight games. But this time some terrific work in crucial situations by the Rangers over-extended middle relievers made all this terrific offense stand up for a 12-7 victory over the Indians. Frank Francisco and Eddie Guardado both bailed the Rangers out of big-time bases-loaded jams at a time when the Indians were set up for big comebacks.
The Rangers at one point led 9-2, but had to hang on at the end after five relievers combined to add on 6 2/3 innings to the Major League-high 218 1/3 innings that their bullpen has thrown this year. The Indians had the lead cut to 9-6 before the Rangers scored three in the bottom of the eighth. "The past couple of days I've never seen this place so hitter friendly," Young said after the Rangers finished with 16 hits. They've scored 37 runs on 54 hits, including 10 home runs, in the last four games. "We have to do that right now to win games," Kinsler said. "Our pitching has been good in the past and picked us up. We've won games 2-1 and 3-2, but now we have to swing the bats to win games. That's the approach we have to take. Our pitchers will come around. They are going through a tough time now, but they've been there before and they'll be there again." Francisco was needed in the third inning because A.J. Murray had to leave with a strained rotator cuff in his left shoulder. Murray, who missed all of 2004 and all of 2006 because of shoulder surgery, will be shut down for 7-10 days and then be re-evaluated. The Rangers led, 5-1, when Francisco took the mound with one out and the bases loaded in the third. This was the kind of situation that the Rangers had let get away from them lately, but Francisco struck out both Jhonny Peralta and Casey Blake to end the threat. "He did a great job," manager Ron Washington said. Guardado was needed because Jamey Wright, for the second straight outing, couldn't get anybody out. Guardado had to clean up Wright's bases-loaded mess in the seventh, then went back out for the eighth. Guardado, with the Rangers leading, 9-5, was looking at the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh when he got David Dellucci on a fly ball to left. Guardado ended up going 1 1/3 innings. It's the first time this season that he has been needed for more than just one inning, and that underscores the serious workload that the bullpen is shouldering. "You go through stretches where you either get a lot of work or not enough work," closer C.J. Wilson said. "That's why you don't complain when you don't pitch or get extra rest. I just feel bad for A.J. having to come out of the game like that with a lead." Washington said the Rangers will almost certainly need to add a reliever from Triple-A Oklahoma before Wednesday's game. "If we can make it through this stretch and get [Vicente] Padilla and [Kevin] Millwood back, we'll be all right," Washington said. "But we can't count on swinging the bats like this all the time. You've got to bring pitching and defense to the ballpark too." Hamilton delivered the first of five home runs hit by the Rangers on the night, a two-run shot in the first inning that landed a couple rows from the top of the bleachers beyond left-center field. He has now hit a home run in four straight games, three short of the club record set by Kevin Mench two years ago, and he now has 67 RBIs on the season. Milton Bradley followed Hamilton with a home run of his own as the Rangers scored four in the first off of Indians starter Tom Mastny. Bradley hit another home run in the eighth inning, a blast that landed in the second deck above the Diamond Club in left field. It's the 13th time in club history that a home run has landed in that deck. "The biggest thing was I was terrible [Monday] night," said Bradley, who went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in a 13-9 loss. "I didn't like myself. I came out today intent on having a better night." Jarrod Saltalamacchia and David Murphy also hit home runs, giving the Rangers a league-high 73 on the season. "We're just doing what we're capable of doing," Bradley said. "We've got a potent lineup." Kinsler, who started it all with a leadoff single in the first, went 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 18 games, the longest of his career. He scored two more runs to give him 50 for the season. That puts him on pace to score 135 for the season, two more than the club record of 133 set by Alex Rodriguez in 2001. Young was just 1-for-5 with an RBI double, but has now hit in 19 straight games, the longest hitting streak in the Major Leagues this season.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.