Hamilton extends streak but Rangers' run ends

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Except for Josh Hamilton extending his hitting streak to 19 games with three more hits, things went pretty poorly for the Texas Rangers.

Their 11-game winning streak is over after a 7-4 loss to the Houston Astros on Friday night. The game featured Ian Kinsler getting ejected while walking away from the plate, two Rangers errors on one play and Texas manager Ron Washington getting upset after a fastball from one his pitchers knocked plate umpire Eric Cooper to the ground.

"They beat us," Washington said. "We move on."

Still, there were some strange moments in the Rangers' first loss in two weeks to end the longest winning streak in the majors this season.

Kinsler angrily flipped his bat, helmet and shin guard away after taking a called third strike for the third out in the third. He had his back to Cooper and was headed to second base when he realized he had been tossed, then turned around and yelled at the umpire.

Then in the ninth, Cooper got hit directly on his facemask by a high fastball from Rangers reliever Alexi Ogando. Catcher Max Ramirez was set up for a slider, but instead Ogando threw a fastball that went right over the top of the mitt when Ramirez reached up to try to get it.

As the rest of the umpires checked on Cooper, who stayed on a knee for only a short time before getting up and gathering himself, Ramirez tried to tell the umpires there was a miscommunication on the signals. He was shooed away, which drew the ire of Washington, who immediately came out of the dugout.

"One of the umpires getting out of control, had to get him back in control," Washington said. "It was a mix-up right there on the pitch, one of them said something they shouldn't have. That's what that was all about."

Fans who jeered Cooper when Kinsler was ejected cheered when the ump was down on the ground.

Umpire crew chief Mike Reilly said it is the third time that Cooper has been hit by a pitch this season, and he and crew member Chad Fairchild have also been hit. The chief said Cooper was "a little sore" but OK.

"We've had so many umpires hit that we're pretty sensitive about it right now," Reilly said. "We said 'Come on, you've got to get a glove on that.' It's probably said more out of frustration. It's just frustrating seeing one of our partners hurt."

Reilly said, though, that the umpires "know the catcher tried to catch the ball. He certainly didn't let it go on purpose."

Geoff Blum had the go-ahead RBI double among his three hits and scored twice for the Astros.

Blum had the third consecutive double for the Astros to start the sixth for a 4-3 lead and chase Colby Lewis (7-5), who pitched a two-hitter at Houston last weekend. Blum then scored when Texas made two errors on the same play.

Chris Johnson had four hits and drove in three runs for the Astros, while Lance Berkman ended an 18-game homerless drought with a 422-foot solo blast. Carlos Lee had three hits, including two doubles.

"We've been playing well, so it was a big win for us," Johnson said.

Brian Moehler (1-4) worked five innings, six nights after the Astros starter held Texas to two runs and one hit over six innings in the game that Lewis won 5-1. Matt Lindstrom, the fourth Astros reliever, worked the ninth for his 18th save in 22 chances.

"Back-to-back starts against the same club, you can't say enough," manager Brad Mills said of Moehler. "He pitched like a veteran. He made some pitches when he had to to get out of jams."

Texas' last loss was 6-2 at Milwaukee on June 11, the start of a 15-game stretch against NL teams that included a three-game series sweep at Houston last weekend.

It was only the second time in franchise history the Rangers won at least 10 consecutive games. The other was their team-record 14 in a row in May 1991.

Hamilton has hit .506 (39 of 77) during his three-week hitting stretch to raise his season average from .291 to .350, third in the majors.

An RBI single by Hamilton in the fifth, already his third hit of the game, made it 2-2. Max Ramirez drew a bases-loaded walk and Moehler trailed when he threw his last pitch to finish the inning.

But Lee, Hunter Pence and Blum had consecutive doubles to start the top of the sixth.

Darren O'Day took over on the mound and made a throwing error that allowed Humberto Quintero to reach on a bunt. Blum ran home from second, getting in safely when second baseman Andres Blanco -- in for Kinsler -- threw wide of home plate for another error.

Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus made a running, over-the-shoulder catch while falling down in short center field to rob Berkman of a hit ending the top of the third.

The Astros first baseman got quick payback with a highlight play of his own in the bottom of the inning. Berkman made a diving backhanded stab of Andrus' grounder, then beat the speedy runner to the bag for the out.

Game notes
The Rangers are still 18-5 in June, and 26-12 at home this season. ... Quintero, the Astros catcher, played for the first time since Sunday, when he left after getting hit in the head by a bat on Blanco's follow through swing. Quintero needed seven stitches. ... Kinsler was 0 for 2, ending a streak of four consecutive two-hit games. ... Berkman played in his 57th Lone Star Series game, the most among any player. He has missed only one Astros-Rangers game the last 10 seasons.