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Banged-up Beltre determined to keep battling

Rangers drop 5th straight, remain 5 out in Wild Card race
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ANAHEIM -- Adrian Beltre has now played in four straight games while dealing with a strained left hamstring muscle. He has been limited to designated hitter duty and there is a chance he could aggravate it, but he doesn't care.

"If it happens, I've got the whole offseason," Beltre said. "I'd rather hurt myself and go down with the ballclub rather than sitting and not doing anything."

Full Game Coverage

ANAHEIM -- Adrian Beltre has now played in four straight games while dealing with a strained left hamstring muscle. He has been limited to designated hitter duty and there is a chance he could aggravate it, but he doesn't care.

"If it happens, I've got the whole offseason," Beltre said. "I'd rather hurt myself and go down with the ballclub rather than sitting and not doing anything."

Full Game Coverage

The Rangers were hoping Beltre's return to the lineup would provide a spark. Instead their losing streak has reached five after a 2-0 loss to the Angels on Saturday night. Beltre was 0-for-4 on the night.

"I've gone 0-for-4 when I'm feeling good," Beltre said. "What's the difference?"

It's just another sign of a team that doesn't have much left with Beltre limited to designated hitter and Nomar Mazara (left quad), Mike Napoli (stress reaction) and Carlos Gomez (sprained right ankle) all out of the starting lineup on Saturday. Mazara did pinch-hit in the eighth inning and grounded out in his only at-bat before being replaced on defense.

The Rangers have also lost eight of their last 10. They remain five games behind the Twins in the race for the second American League Wild Card spot and four games behind the Angels. The Mariners and Royals are also ahead of the Rangers, who are now four games under .500 (72-76) with just 14 to play.

"Frustrating is a pretty strong word but it's disappointing we haven't been gaining any ground," Beltre said. "We know we are getting to the end and got to find a way to win. But lately when we pitch, we don't hit, or when we hit, we don't pitch."

The Rangers got the pitching from Cole Hamels on Saturday but managed just three hits against Angels starter Parker Bridwell and three relievers. They were 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position.

Beltre had one of those at-bats. He came to the plate with runners at the corners and two outs in the sixth and grounded out weakly to third. He is 1-for-11 since he returned with a pinch-hit appearance against the Mariners on Wednesday.

"It's just getting used to it," Beltre said. "We didn't have any rehab time. It usually takes three or four games to get my swing where I want it. It's been three [starts] so I should be able to get it there and get used to my swing."

The Rangers will let him stay after it. At this point of the season, there is nothing to lose.

"What I am seeing is a guy who is taking his at-bats," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "He is trying to grind it out and do what he can for his team. Don't get caught up in what it looks like. Let the guy go out and continue to take his at-bats."

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Texas Rangers, Adrian Beltre