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Rockies beat Rangers 12-1 with season-high 21 hits; Nolan Arenado extends hit streak to 26 games

By Pat Graham

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, May 6 2014 11:40 p.m. MDT

Colorado Rockies' Nolan Arenado is congratulated after reaching third base on a single by Justin Morneau against the Texas Rangers in the sixth inning of an interleague baseball game in Denver on Tuesday, May 6, 2014. Arenado doubled in the seventh inning to extend his consecutive game hitting streak to 26 games. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

David Zalubowski, ASSOCIATED PRESS

DENVER — Carlos Gonzalez had five of Colorado's season-high 21 hits and Nolan Arenado made several slick plays at third base on a night he extended his hitting streak to 26 games as the Rockies routed the Texas Rangers 12-1 on Tuesday night.

It's the third time in Gonzalez's career he's had five hits in a game. Arenado waited until his final at-bat in the seventh to extend his streak, lacing an RBI double that hit just inside the left-field line. He's one away from tying the team record of 27 set by Michael Cuddyer last season.

Juan Nicasio (4-1) got through five innings without his best command, giving up two hits and one run. He also walked a season-high five.

Robbie Ross Jr. (1-3) had a rough outing as he allowed six runs and 12 hits in 5 1-3 innings.

The Rangers' most effective pitcher on this night was actually an outfielder. Given the lopsided score, and to save his bullpen, manager Ron Washington sent Mitch Moreland to the mound for the eighth. He set the Rockies down in order as he became only the sixth position player to pitch in Rangers history.

The first four hitters in Colorado's lineup — Charlie Blackmon, Drew Stubbs, Troy Tulowitzki and Gonzalez — went a combined 13-for-20 with two homers and seven RBIs to help the Rockies take two games from Texas at Coors Field. Colorado now travels to Arlington, Texas, for two more in a home-and-home situation.

Blackmon led off with a homer. Stubbs added another in the seventh.

Leading 4-1, the Rockies broke open the game with a six-run sixth in which they sent 12 batters to the plate. Pinch hitter Brandon Barnes even got up twice, hitting singles both times.

Although the Rockies had one of their best offensive outputs of the season, the player missing from the festivities for most of the game was Colorado's hottest hitter, Arenado. The crowd erupted when his hit fell in. The 26-game hitting streak is the longest for anyone 23 years or younger since Albert Pujols hit in 30 straight in 2003.

Arenado's glove set the stage for the run eruption. He robbed Adrian Beltre of two hits and, along with it, potentially big innings for the Rangers.

In the third, Arenado, the reigning Gold Glove winner at the hot corner, gobbled up a hot grounder from Beltre and threw him out at first. Beltre playfully looked at Arenado and raised hands as if to say, "Did that just happen?"

Arenado has been stealing hits all season. So much so that before the game Washington said of Arenado: "That kid over there is a highlight reel."

In the fifth, Arenado got Beltre again as he snared a two-out slow roller with his bare hand and made a strong throw that barely beat Beltre.

Nicasio struggled to find the strike zone, with catcher Jordan Pacheco and pitching coach Jim Wright making frequent visits to settle him down. It worked as Nicasio improved to 3-0 at home this season.

Ross nearly had his first major league hit as he beat out a grounder to second. But Rockies manager Walt Weiss challenged the play and it was reversed upon review.

Weiss was 2 for 2 on challenges in the series.

Beltre hit his first homer of the season, a solo shot in the first.

NOTES: LHP Joe Saunders (left ankle) went four innings and gave up three runs — two earned — in a rehab start at Double-A Frisco on Tuesday. ... RHP Colby Lewis (2-1) will pitch Wednesday as the Rangers return from a five-game road swing. The Rockies counter with LHP Jorge De La Rosa (3-3).

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