Young had three hits and drove in four runs while batting four times in the first four innings Wednesday night, then got a well-deserved break. The Rangers went on to extend the majors' longest winning streak this season to 10 in a row with a 13-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
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"That's Michael," Elvis Andrus said with a smile after three hits of his own to snap out of a 3-for-33 slump."Michael got us going early and kept going," manager Ron Washington said. "Everybody followed suit."The AL West-leading Rangers have won at least 10 consecutive games for only the second time in franchise history. The record of 14 in a row came in 1991.Even with slugger Josh Hamilton getting a requested night off, and putting his career-best 17-game hitting streak on hold after appearing in 31 consecutive games, the AL West-leading Rangers matched their season high with 13 runs and had 17 hits. Catcher Matt Treanor was the only Texas starter without a hit, but he did have a sacrifice fly and scored a run.Young's two-run homer in the first off Paul Maholm (4-6) was his 10th of the season and second in two nights. Young, the franchise's career leader with 1,755 hits, added a single and scored in a five-run second inning, then had a two-run double in a six-run fourth that put Texas ahead 13-2.An inning later, Young was lifted for a pinch-hitter only a triple shy of hitting for the cycle."Anytime Wash can get me off me feet for a couple of innings, it always seems to pay off," said Young, the team's longest-tenured player in his 10th season. "When I came out, we were up 11 runs. The chances are I'm not even going to go for a triple anyway. There's a time and a place to try to stretch it. That wouldn't have been it."By the way, Young's 44 career triples are tied with Ruben Sierra for the most in team history.Rookie reliever Alexi Ogando (3-0) pitched three scoreless innings and has won in all three of his major league appearances, allowing only one hit and no runs over 6 1/3 innings since making his debut at Florida last week.Ogando, a 26-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic, had his Rangers career postponed when he couldn't get a United States visa the past five years.Now he is the first major league pitcher to get three wins in his first three appearances all in relief since Detroit's Jon Warden in 1968.Matt Harrison, a former starter, pitched the last three innings for his first major league save.Dustin Nippert, starting in injured Rich Harden's rotation spot for the second consecutive time, struck out seven but needed 82 pitches to get through three innings. The right-hander gave up two runs.Nelson Cruz had three hits and drove in three runs for Texas in his second game back from his second disabled list stint this season because of hamstring issues.Young had the first of five consecutive singles for Texas -- the last four all drove in runs -- that chased Maholm without recording an out in the second. The inning had started with a walk and an error.Maholm allowed seven runs (five earned) and seven hits with four walks."It was one of those days. It was the worst outing of my career," Maholm said. "You leave pitches over the middle and fall behind and that's what happens."Andrus had an RBI single in the fourth before Young hit a two-run double and then scored on a double by Ian Kinsler. A two-run single by Cruz made it 13-2."That's a hot-hitting team and they took advantage," Pirates manager John Russell said. "They take advantage of mistakes and we made too many tonight."
Harden has been on the disabled list since June 12 because of a strained left gluteus muscle. He is feeling better after an injection and could start a throwing program by this weekend. He isn't expected back until after the All-Star break. ... Pirates 1B Garrett Jones was 0 for 3 with a walk, ending his NL-best 12-game hitting streak. .. Tom Grieve will be the 13th member inducted into the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame. Grieve has spent 43 of his 44 years in professional baseball with the franchise as a player, general manager and television broadcaster. ... Maholm had allowed only one home run his last eight starts (48 1/3 innings) before Young's blast.