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Rangers defeat Braves, 6-2

Rangers defeat Braves, 6-2

Rangers defeat Braves, 6-2

Atlanta Braves third baseman Brooks C...


  ATLANTA — Colby Lewis and Nelson Cruz shook off slumps, Josh Hamilton hit a two-run homer and the Texas Rangers beat the Atlanta Braves 6-2 on Friday night to protect their lead in the AL West.
    Cruz, who had been 0 for 18 with 10 strikeouts in his last five games, drove in three runs with two doubles. Hamilton had four hits and drove in three runs, including a
run-scoring single in the ninth.
    Lewis (6-7) recovered after two ugly losses in which he gave up a combined 15 runs on 17 hits in only 4 2-3 innings. The right-hander gave up two runs on five hits in 6 2-3 innings while matching his career high with 10 strikeouts.
    Lewis gave up homers to Brian McCann in the fourth and Freddie Freeman in the sixth.
    Texas began the night with a half-game lead over Seattle in the AL West. The Rangers snapped a five-game losing streak with their first win in four tries at Turner Field.
    Right-hander Randall Delgado (0-1), recalled from Double-A Mississippi, gave up seven hits and four runs, three earned. He was knocked out without recording an out in the Rangers' four-run fifth, when Hamilton hit his fifth homer.
    Delgado, 21, made his major league debut after the Braves placed right-hander Tommy Hanson on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his right shoulder.
    Cruz snapped his hitless streak with his second-inning double to right field to drive in Michael Young, who also reached on a double. Cruz had a two-run double off Cristhian Martinez in the fifth.
    The Rangers delivered two strong plays on defense.
    With two outs in the fifth, Lewis ran toward the first-base line to pick up a weak grounder by Jason Heyward. After making the scoop, Lewis made a backhanded flip of the ball from his glove to first baseman Young to throw out Heyward, who slammed down his helmet in disgust.
    Third baseman Adrian Beltre made a bid to challenge Lewis for the top defensive play of the game when, sprinting toward left field with his back to the infield, he made an over-the-shoulder catch of a foul pop-up hit by Eric Hinske.
    The Braves were without third baseman Chipper Jones, who left Thursday night's game against the Mets with a strained adductor muscle in his right leg.
    Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Jones felt discomfort when he took swings in the batting cage on Friday and may return Sunday or Monday.
    "I'm not going to push him," Gonzalez said.
    Neftali Feliz, acquired by the Rangers from Atlanta in the seven-player trade in 2007 that sent Mark Teixeira to the Braves, pitched a perfect ninth.
    NOTES: Lewis had 10 strikeouts for the second time this season and eighth time in his career. ... The Rangers were swept by the Braves in three games in Atlanta in 2003 in their only previous series at Turner Field. The teams are playing for the first time since the Rangers won two of three at Texas on June 17-19, 2008. ... The Braves optioned INF Brandon Hicks to Triple-A Gwinnett. RHP Jairo Asencio, recalled from Gwinnett, gave up one run on three hits in two innings.

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