Rangers recap: Hamilton ties, wins it

HOUSTON -- The Rangers extended their win streak to eight games, all on the road, by completing a three-game sweep of the Astros on Sunday at Minute Maid Park.

The 5-4 10 inning victory for the Rangers was highlighted by some late-inning magic by Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton.

He tied the game in the ninth when the Astros elected to pitch to him over the young Justin Smoak, and he stroked a single to center. Hamilton's hit tied the game at 4-4.

In the tenth inning, the Astros pitched to Hamilton after walking Vladimir Guerrero, and it cost them again. Hamilton stroked a single to right, driving in Julio Borbonfor the Rangers' first lead of the day. Neftali Feliz closed the game out with his 19th save, and the Silver Boot will remain in Arlington for at least another week as the teams meet again this weekend at the ballpark.

"We had many opportunities and all we could keep doing is scratch and win," manager Ron Washington said. "We got the right one at the end, Hamilton had a great day he went 5-for-5, [Julio] Borbon got four and we kept fighting and it was one hell of a game, I used the whole team today, it was a great finish to a great road trip."

Now for some highlights:

* The eight-game road winning streak is the second longest in club history and longest on a single road trip. The longest road winning streak in club history is nine games, set in 1977 when the Rangers beat Baltimore, Cleveland and Toronto twice and the Chicago White Sox for three games. This is also the longest overall win streak by the Rangers since they won nine straight in 2005. The Rangers have never finished a road trip 8-1 in franchise history until now. The Rangers have finished 8-2 twice in team history.

* C.J. Wilson has now gone consecutive starts without a victory for the fourth time this season. On Sunday, Wilson went seven innings, allowing four runs, two earned, on six hits with three walks and four strikeouts. He threw a season-high 120 pitches. There were also two passed balls. Both passed balls were on fastballs that catcher Max Ramirez failed to handle. Wilson has left his last two starts trailing. On June 15, he trailed, 2-1, when he left after six. The Rangers would come back and win that game, 3-2.

Wilson struggled at the start of the game, especially in spotting his fastball. But after the second inning, Wilson went to more changeups and things got better for him.

"Just throwing some different pitches," Wilson said. "They hit some fastballs the first two innings and I made them hit other stuff. I was having a hard time controlling the changeup the first two innings then I went to the curveball and slider and that got me a lot of outs."

* Smoak comes home a hot hitter. In the three-game series, Smoak went 7-for-14 with two home runs, two doubles and eight RBIs. He drove in one in the third inning on Sunday but struck out with two on in the seventh and his team down one. Smoak entered play third in the AL with 19 RBIs this month. He's got 20 now. The Astros showed him some respect. They elected to pitch to Hamilton instead of walking him to face Smoak. Hamilton's hit to center tied the game in the ninth.

"What is it they say, you can pick your posion," Hamilton said.

* Elvis Andrus got Sunday off because manager Ron Washington said he was a little fatigued. Andrus said he was OK with it. With Monday being an off-day, it's like Andrus got two days off. He did play, however, coming in to pinch hit in the eighth inning with the bases loaded. Andrus grounded out to end the inning. On this road nine-game road trip, Andrus went 4-for-45, and Washington said he was grinding but needed a break. He got one. He's expected back Tuesday night.

* Washington said if Dustin Nippert had pitched Sunday his scheduled start on Wednesday would be in doubt. With Nippert not getting in, he will pitch Wednesday. ... The Rangers have to make a roster move so they can make room for OF Nelson Cruz, who is coming off the DL. ... Hamilton extended his hitting streak to 16 games, the longest active streak in the majors. He also had five hits for the second time in his career. ... The Rangers are 36-19 since April 22. Overall the Rangers are 41-28, the second best start through 69 games in club history. ... Julio Borbon tied a career-high with four hits. ... RHP Tommy Hunter, RHP Dustin Nippert and RHP Scott Feldman will pitch the three-game set vs. the Pirates.