Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 6/30/12
ARLINGTON, Texas The Texas Rangers know not every stretch will be like the one they're on now, but they'll take hot streaks any way they can get them. Texas clinched its seventh-consecutive series by beating Oakland 7-2 Saturday night. It was the fifth-straight victory for the Rangers and they've now won 17th of their last 21 games. Texas, which as the best record in the majors, has now matched its largest lead in the American League West at 6 games. As has been the case throughout the month, the Rangers have found different ways to win as a result of having six pitchers on the disabled list. Saturday night it was the unlikely pitching trio of Martin Perez, Yoshinori Tateyama and Michael Kirkman who limited the A's to six hits. The Texas offense also took advantage of a pair of Oakland errors in the fifth inning to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 6-2 lead. "It was Perez, Tateyama and Michael Kirkman and they did an outstanding job," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "We're just trying to continue to play good baseball and we are. It takes everybody to continue with it. We're starting to really get things spread out throughout the lineup. We're playing hard. We're making things happen and we're taking advantage of it." It was the fifth inning when the Rangers took advantage of Oakland miscues and paved the way to becoming the first team to reach 50 wins in the majors. With runners on second and third with two outs, Ian Kinsler singled to left field to score two runs and give the Rangers a 3-2 lead in an inning that began with an Oakland error. An error on an Elvis Andrus grounder prolonged the inning for Josh Hamilton. Hamilton, who was 0 for 2, smacked a 406-homer to left center to give the Rangers some breathing room and provide more evidence that he's breaking out of his June swoon. The April and May AL player of the month now has three home runs on the home stand. He also added another RBI in the seventh inning to push his major-league high total to 73. Hamilton is also the fastest Rangers player to ever reach 25 home runs in a season and he's the first player in the AL to have at least 25 homers and 73 RBI since Alex Rodriguez did it in 2007. "It's good," Hamilton said of the 25 homers. "Obviously excited about it. I like RBIs more than I like home runs, so it's one of those things I haven't tried to hit home runs, biggest thing is trying to hit the ball hard, not far. And it works. You just battle yourself, fight yourself as far as trying to hit it far sometimes as far as barreling it up and hitting it." That fifth was more than enough support for the trio of Perez, Tateyama and Kirkman. Perez, making his first major-league start, pitched 5 13 innings to become the youngest Texas starter to win a game since Edwin Correa in 1987. Perez, 21, allowed two runs on six hits and also struck out five in his 103-pitch effort. "Everything was working well for me," said Perez, who allowed runs in the second and fourth innings. "Of course there were a couple of pitches they were able to hit but my sinker, my changeup were working well. I feel happy for my outing. I'm happy with what I did. I think everything went all right." As good as Perez was, the efforts of Tateyama and Kirkman may have been just as important. Not only did they combine for 3 23 hitless innings while combining for three strikeouts, they saved the key members at the back end of the Texas bullpen more work. The Rangers have now been able to avoid using Robbie Ross, Mike Adams and Joe Nathan on consecutive nights and have won both games. "It's big especially going to Chicago," Kirkman said of giving the bullpen a break. "Those guys will be well rested for the stretch back to the All-Star break. We're resilient. All of us want to make our pitches and keep the ball down in the zone and get guys out."
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