Rangers Finish Perfect Homestand, With Help From Their Shiny New Toy

The weather. The ring ceremony. The attendance. And oh, by the way, the results.

When the Rangers beat reigning AL Cy Young winner Felix Hernandez 7-3 yesterday, it capped the perfect start to their encore season.They're now 6-0, joining the Cincinnati Reds as the only undefeated teams in baseball.

Texas has hit and pitched -- and, on Wednesday, boy did it field.

Despite C.J. Wilson battling a tight hamstring and lacking his best stuff, the Rangers scratched out a 4-3 lead into the 8th. Seattle's Milton Bradley hit a shot down the third-base line off of reliever Arthur Rhodes that looked like a double.

And then we remembered why, during spring training, GM Jon Daniels called the Rangers' left side of the infield the best in baseball.

Guarding the line for just this ball, third baseman Adrian Beltre made a high backhand stop of the scorcher, kept his balance and fired across the infield. At the other end, first baseman Mitch Moreland stretched and made a deft one-hop scoop to nab Bradley by a step.

Let's face it: A year ago, with Michael Young at third, Bradley would've been standing on second. Instead Rhodes breezed through a scoreless 8th, the Rangers added three insurance runs and Darren O'Day pitched a perfect 9th.

The best start in Rangers' history -- 7-0 in '96 -- will be threatened Friday when they play their first road game of the season at Baltimore, where something called Zach Britton will be on the mound.


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