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Top of lineup shows improvement

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Ian Kinsler and Elvis Andrus returned to Arlington from a nine-game road trip in slumps and desperately trying to keep their batting averages above the Mendoza line.

Only the fact that Kinsler led AL leadoff hitters in walks was keeping his on-base percentage from dropping like his batting average. And Andrus wasn't able to do much of anything behind him, preventing the heart of the Rangers' order (including the red-hot Michael Young and Adrian Beltre) from batting as often as they'd like with those guys on base ahead of them.

But Rangers Ballpark in Arlington has helped get both players back on track.

Kinsler had multi-hit games in three of the club's four home games so far since returning from New York. He is 7-for-17 (.412) in that span to raise his average to .229. On Friday, he had a double and a homer; he was a triple shy of the cycle.

Andrus is also 7-for-17 during this homestand (.412) to get his average up to .235.

Those two guys set the table for the rest of the lineup. If they hit well, it has a trickle-down effect. And on this homestand, they appear to be heating up. That could prove critical with Josh Hamilton still out and manager Ron Washington trying to get men on base for Young and Beltre.