Kinsler paces Rangers over White Sox

ARLINGTON, Texas —Ian Kinsler, Michael Young and Milton Bradley took care of business at home before heading to the All-Star game.

Kinsler extended his majors-best hitting streak to 25 games with three hits and drove in three runs, and Young and Bradley also had key hits, leading the Texas Rangers to a wild 12-11 victory over the AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox that clinched another series win.

“We’re showing a lot of character, clawing our way through games,” said Young, who has a 15-game hitting streak. “We’re playing as a team. … The momentum we’ve built up over the last couple of months, hopefully we can carry that over into the second half.”

Since having the worst record in the majors at 7-16 in late April, the Rangers (50-46) have won 16 of their last 23 series—and split three others, including a four-game set last week against the AL West-leading Angels, who are 7 1/2 games ahead of third-place Texas.

Chicago (54-40) maintained a 1 1/2 -game division lead over Minnesota despite its third loss in four games.

The White Sox had a 2-0 lead only three pitches in, and finished with a season-high 22 hits. And that still wasn’t enough.

“This was the worst baseball game I’ve ever seen. … The pitchers should look themselves in the mirror and be embarrassed,” Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen said. “That was ugly. That’s the worst I’ve seen in a long time.”

Things didn’t look so bad in the Rangers clubhouse, even though the 22 hits were the most they’ve ever allowed in a victory. Texas countered with 17 hits.

Marlon Byrd hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the seventh that finally put Texas ahead to stay.

Jermaine Dye went 4-for-5, with a homer in the eighth and a two-run single in the ninth, and five other White Sox players had three hits. All-Star outfielder Carlos Quentin also homered.

Chicago scored three times in the ninth against closer C.J. Wilson before Jim Thome and Paul Konerko both took called third strikes to end the game.

“It was a battle but C.J. made the last strike. Game over,” said second-year manager Ron Washington, whose future was in doubt back in April.

Bradley, the AL starting designated hitter in place of injured David Ortiz, matched a career high with his 19th homer and had an RBI single. Josh Hamilton, leading the majors with 95 RBIs and voted an All-Star starter, was 0-for-4 and saw the end of his streak of eight straight games driving in a run, the last five being multi-RBI games.

Thome had two doubles and has reached base in 28 straight games against Texas—16-for-27 over the last nine. His RBI double in the third put Chicago ahead 5-4.

But Bradley led off the bottom of the third with a homer that ricocheted off the pole down the right-field line before RBI singles by Max Ramirez and Kinsler.

That hit for Kinsler, already his third in the game, put the Rangers up 7-5. The AL’s leading hitter (.337) had doubles in each of the first two innings, increasing his majors-leading total to 34.

Some fans chanted “M-V-P!, M-V-P!” when Kinsler came to the plate later in the game.

“I’d rather talk about the team. We’re playing good baseball,” said Kinsler, a first-time All-Star. “It’s tough to talk about MVP and that kind of stuff. The guys around me make it easy to do what I’m doing.”

David Murphy led off Texas’ big seventh with a single. Boone Logan (2-2) had him picked off but Murphy took off for second and reached third on first baseman Konerko’s wild throw into the outfield. Byrd then lined a double into the left-field corner for an 8-7 lead.

Adam Russell hit Kinsler, an AL reserve for his first All-Star appearance, with a pitch to load the bases before Young’s two-run single extended his hitting streak. Young also hit in 23 straight earlier this season, longest in the majors until Kinsler passed him.

Ramirez’s third run-scoring hit was an RBI single in the eighth that pushed Texas ahead 12-8, which was just enough.

Jamey Wright (6-4), the third of five Rangers pitchers, allowed a run over 1 2-3 innings.

After a quick groundout and an infield single on the first two pitches by rookie left-hander Matt Harrison, Quentin hit his 21st homer. Dye walked and scored on a grounder to make it 3-0.

Chicago’s Juan Uribe, playing for resting All-Star third baseman Joe Crede, tripled and scored on Orlando Cabrera’s single in the second. Uribe’s ball hit on top of the 14-foot wall in left field, bounced straight up and then fell back into play.