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TEX@LAA: Ogando hurls eight shutout frames

ANAHEIM -- The Rangers' pitching extravaganza trooped into Angel Stadium on Tuesday night, and this time Alexi Ogando was the headline attraction.

The right-hander was pitching in a regular-season game for the first time since July 6, but he was just as good as the other four in the rotation, who have been the undisputed force behind what is now the second-longest winning streak in Rangers history.

Ogando held the Angels to four hits over eight innings and the Rangers took their 12th straight with a 7-0 victory. They are now five games up on the Angels in the American League West.

"I felt strong, and the extra rest was the reason why," Ogando said after he walked three, struck out five and improved to 10-3 with a 2.72 ERA in his first season as a starter.

"I hope we can stop getting questions about if he has anything left," said Rangers manager Ron Washington. "He was Alexi. I didn't expect anything different. I expected him to pitch his game."

Ogando's performance was the latest in an increasingly mind-boggling stretch by the Rangers' pitching staff. The unit has now allowed just two runs over the past 56 innings and has recorded shutouts in four of the last six games. The Rangers have a league-leading 13 shutouts on the season, their most since 1981 and four short of the club record set in 1977.

Rangers pitchers have a 1.90 ERA during the winning streak, and opponents are batting .192 off them. Over the past six games, opponents are hitting .160 off them with 30 hits, 11 walks and 47 strikeouts.

"We had some chances, but the guy made his pitches," said Angels left fielder Howie Kendrick. "He's got really good stuff. He throws upper 90s and was putting it in good spots along with his slider. Coming from the bullpen the way he did, I don't think anybody could have expected him to be this good.

The Rangers' 12-game winning streak is the longest in the Major Leagues since the Red Sox had a 12-game run in 2006. The franchise's longest winning streak was 14 straight, from May 12-27, 1991.

"This isn't a group that gets satisfied," said designated hitter Michael Young. "We're happy with the way we're playing, but we're never satisfied. We're always thinking about bigger things and continuing to improve as a team. The biggest thing is we're playing our style of baseball. We're running the bases, catching the ball, swinging the bats and pitching well. Things are going good, but we have to keep it up."

The Rangers have won 10 straight games against AL West opponents. They swept the A's in a four-game series right before the All-Star break and took four more from the Mariners last weekend. But this was against the one team that has been able to stay within striking distance.

"We know they have a good team," said third baseman Adrian Beltre. "We're playing great and they're playing good. We want to create some pressure. We came here to win the series, but we're playing good and we'd like to keep the streak going."

The Rangers scored right away in the first inning against Angels rookie starter Tyler Chatwood, and that has been a common occurrence throughout the winning streak. The Rangers have been jumping on the opposing team early, which allows their starters to settle down quickly with less pressure.

Josh Hamilton and Beltre smacked a pair of two-out doubles that gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead. The Rangers have scored either in the first or second innings in 10 of the past 12 games. They have also had a lead after two innings in nine of the 12.

Overall, the Rangers have outscored their opponents 26-11 over the first two innings during the stretch. Their opponent hasn't scored in the first two innings or had a lead after two since the A's were up, 4-1, on July 9. That was the night Hamilton hit a walk-off home run.

"When you're on the road, that's what you want to do, get out first and get a lead," Washington said. "The only thing I'm worried about is that we continue to play the type of baseball that we're capable of, and tonight, we did. That's what I'm focused on."

Two-out hits were also big all night for the Rangers, possibly because Chatwood was racking up high pitch counts over long innings. Mike Napoli drew a walk with two outs in the fourth, went to third on Endy Chavez's single to center and scored on Kinsler's single to right.

In the fifth, Elvis Andrus drew a walk and Hamilton singled to left. Beltre grounded into a double play, but Young drove home the run with a single. Chatwood was done after five innings and 108 pitches. The Rangers were 4-for-12 with runners in scoring position, and all four hits came with two outs.

"We expect to come through in those situations," Kinsler said. "We had a couple of situations where we didn't come through, but as long as we're stringing together quality at-bats, we have a good shot at putting up runs."

The fourth big two-out hit came in the eighth inning. With Napoli standing on second, Chavez hit a two-run home run off of Michael Kohn. That made it 5-0, and Hamilton and Beltre hit back-to-back home runs in the ninth. Comments