Rangers ride Hamilton's hot bat into top four, Yankees still No. 1

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The Texas Rangers have won 10 straight games, but enthusiasm should be tempered for any winning streak in which half the victories have come against the lowly Astros and Pirates. In fact, each of the Rangers' 10 straight wins has come against a National League team with a losing record. But any streak of that length is noteworthy for the necessary consistent play, and the Rangers haven't been squeaking by, either, as they've more than doubled up their opposition in runs scored, 64-28.

In putting together this fortnight of hot play -- Texas has won 13 of its last 14 -- the Rangers have pummeled the baseball all over the diamond. They've failed to reach nine hits only once in their baker's dozen of recent wins, scoring 6.9 runs per game and batting .303.

Left fielder Josh Hamilton's bat has been especially torrid: He has a 17-game hitting streak during which he's batted .485 (33-for-68) with eight home runs and 24 RBIs, bringing his season totals (.339 average, 17 home runs, 53 RBIs) closer to where they were in his All-Star 2008 season than his injury-plagued 2009. And he's being careful about his swing by declining to participate in this year's Home Run Derby, thus denying fans a chance to see if he can replicate his unforgettable display in the Derby two years ago.

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