Arlington, TX – Adrian Beltre smacked a three-run home run and Colby Lewis tossed six innings of one-run ball as the Rangers took a 7-2 decision over the Rays in the second of three straight at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Saturday.
Lewis (3-0) fanned five and allowed three hits and three walks while the bullpen did the rest of the work to help Texas earn its third win in four tries.
Josh Hamilton went 2-for-3 with two RBI and two runs scored and Ian Kinsler also scored twice for Texas.
Jeff Niemann (1-3) went 5 2/3 innings in the start for Tampa Bay, yielding three runs -- two earned -- on five hits and three walks. Evan Longoria had two hits and knocked in a run while Matt Joyce added a solo shot for the Rays, who saw their six-game win streak come to an end.
"First few guys, I really was trying to overthrow a little bit, then I really kind of settled in and told myself to calm down and throw strikes," remarked Niemann.
The Rangers got to Niemann early on, as Kinsler worked a leadoff walk and Elvis Andrus followed with a double before Hamilton plated both runners with a single to left field for the early 2-0 lead.
Joyce cut the lead in half with one swing of the bat, launching the third pitch of the second inning over the wall in right field for his fifth homer of the season.
Texas added an insurance run in the sixth as Hamilton and Beltre opened the home half of the frame with consecutive singles. Michael Young grounded into a double play, but Nelson Cruz reached on an error from shortstop Elliot Johnson to score Hamilton from third.
The Rangers broke the game open in the seventh when Mitch Moreland stroked a one-out double and Kinsler followed with a single. Moreland then scored on a throwing error from Jose Molina to make it 4-1.
After Elvis Andrus struck out and Hamilton was intentionally walked, Beltre belted a three-run shot to right field, providing Texas a comfortable 7-1 lead.
"You always want to hit in those situations," said Beltre about Hamilton being walked to get to him. "I don't want them to walk him. I want him to get some pitches to hit, too. But I'll always be ready for those situations."
Tampa Bay got one back in the eighth as Desmond Jennings hit a leadoff single, stole second and came around to score on Longoria's double.
Texas finished 3-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left five on base...Tampa Bay went 1-for-6 with RISP while stranding six...Sunday's finale will feature two lefties as Derek Holland will take the mound for Texas against David Price of the Rays.