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Kinsler's HR pushes Rangers past Astros 7-2

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Ian Kinsler ended a career-long 32-game homerless drought with a tiebreaking shot and the Texas Rangers quickly rebounded from their first loss in two weeks with a 7-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday.

Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton extended his hitting streak to 20 games with a single in the sixth inning.

Kinsler's three-run homer off Josh Banks (0-1) in the fourth snapped a 2-all tie. It was only his second homer of the season and first since May 18, the day after manager Ron Washington moved Kinsler to the No. 3 spot in the batting order and dropped Hamilton to fifth.

AL West-leading Texas is 19-5 in June, which included a major league-best 11-game winning streak before a 7-4 loss to Houston in the series opener Friday night.

C.J. Wilson (6-3) went seven innings to win his third consecutive decision over five June starts. With the temperature in the mid-90s, the left-hander threw 72 of his 112 pitches for strikes. He struck out three and walked four.

The only runs allowed by Wilson came when Jason Michaels hit a two-run homer to put Houston ahead 2-1 in the fourth.

But Banks, added to the roster Saturday from Triple-A Round Rock to start in place of injured right-hander Felipe Paulino (right shoulder tendinitis), walked rookie Justin Smoak to start the bottom half before an RBI double by Max Ramirez. Michael Young had a one-out single before Kinsler pulled a pitch down the left-field line.

Banks gave up six runs and eight hits before being pulled after Nelson Cruz had a leadoff single in the fifth.

Kinsler missed the end of the game Friday night, when he was ejected after taking a called third strike for the third out of the third inning. He was thrown out after he flippantly tossed his bat, helmet and shin guard while still standing at home plate. That left him 0 for 2, ending a streak of four consecutive two-hit games.

But Kinsler, like the Rangers, quickly got back on track.

Kinsler had a leadoff double in the third and scored for a 1-0 lead on a single by Vladimir Guerrero, who was thrown out trying to stretch it into a double.

Hamilton was 1 for 4 with a walk to extend his hitting streak. He is batting .494 (40 of 81) over the three-week stretch, and is now third in the majors with a .348 batting average.

The Rangers (45-29) had 15 hits, with every starter getting at least one. Cruz had three, including a triple, and Elvis Andrus had a two-run single. But they did leave 13 runners on base, the third time in four games they've stranded that many.

Houston went ahead when Arlington native Hunter Pence reached on a fielder's choice before Michaels hit a 417-foot drive to left-center for his fourth homer of the season.

When Michaels doubled into the left-field corner in the sixth, Pence was thrown out trying to score. David Murphy fielded the ball and the relay throw from Andrus was on target to Ramirez, who absorbed the hard collision and held onto the ball.

NOTES: With the win, the Rangers clinched the season series and retained the Sliver Boot Trophy for the fourth straight season and sixth in the last seven. Texas swept three games in Houston last weekend and has split the first two this time before the series finale Sunday. ... The only other time Texas was 45-29 was in 1996, the year the Rangers won the first of their three AL West titles in a four-season span.