ARLINGTON, Texas — Elvis Andrus hit a go-ahead two-run
homer, Nelson Cruz went deep for the 30th time and the Texas Rangers gained
ground in the American League playoff chase with their third straight victory,
6-4 over Toronto on Wednesday night.
Texas moved within 3 1/2 games of the AL West-leading
Angels, who have lost two in a row. It is the closest the Rangers have been in
the division since the same margin Aug. 9 after a win in Los Angeles. The
Rangers are 2 1/2 games behind wild-card leader Boston.
The Rangers played their first game since finding out
All-Star third baseman Michael Young will miss at least two weeks because of a
strained left hamstring sustained running out a grounder Tuesday night. Now,
they have to worry about Josh Hamilton.
Hamilton left after four innings because of lower back
pain. The team said the All-Star slugger would be evaluated Thursday and was
considered day to day.
Rookie right-hander Tommy Hunter (7-3) allowed four runs
over seven innings and had four strikeouts. C.J. Wilson retired all four batters
he faced before Frank Francisco finished for his 22nd save in 25 chances — and
third in two days after getting both in a doubleheader sweep Tuesday.
Hamilton had a leadoff double in the fourth, and was safe
at second with a headfirst dive before scoring on a single by Cruz. But when
Texas took the field in the top of the fifth, Marlon Byrd replaced Hamilton in
center. It wasn't clear when exactly Hamilton got hurt.
Cruz, who finished with three hits and has nine RBIs the
last five games, had a leadoff homer in the sixth off Scott Richmond (6-8) for a
Richmond was pulled after walking the next two batters.
The right-hander is 0-3 with a 7.27 ERA in five starts since returning from the
disabled list after 30 days recovering from biceps tendinitis.
For the sixth time his last eight starts, Hunter gave up
runs in the first inning. Toronto led 2-0 after Adam Lind had an RBI double and
then came home on a single by Lyle Overbay, who was thrown out trying to go to
second on the play.
Overbay's solo homer, his 14th, put Toronto up 3-1.
Julio Borbon drew a one-out walk in the fifth before
Andrus' sixth homer made it 4-3. The 21-year-old shortstop flipped his bat away
as soon as he hit the ball, and fellow rookie Borbon looked back at him laughing
while trotting around the bases.
Andrus saved a run on defense, even after he bobbled
Jose Bautista's grounder for an error in the fourth. Andrus recovered to scoop
up the ball and threw out Randy Ruiz, trying to score from second, to end the
Ruiz made up for his running miscue when he led off the
seventh with a homer.
Cruz has 23 solo homers. … Toronto SS Marco
Scutaro had his third error in three games, after only four errors the first 126
games this season. His throwing error in the sixth allowed a run. … Blue Jays
rookie LHP Brett Cecil will get an extra start this season. His scheduled start
Saturday at the New York Yankees was supposed to be his last, but manager Cito
Gaston said Cecil will also start Sept. 11 at Detroit.