Vladimir Guerrero #27 poses for a portrait during the Texas rangers Photo Day at Surprise on March 2, 2010 in Surprise, Arizona.
Even after 15 big league seasons, game-winning hits are a thrill for Vladimir Guerrero.
The 35-year-old slugger singled home the winning run with two outs in the ninth inning and the Texas Rangers won their 11th straight game, rallying from an early four-run deficit to beat the struggling Pittsburgh Pirates 6-5 on Thursday night.
Elvis Andrus drew a one-out walk in the ninth from Steven Jackson (0-1) and went to second on Michael Young's single. Andrus dashed to third on Ian Kinsler's flyout and scored when Guerrero laced a 2-2 pitch to left, completing a three-game sweep for the Rangers.
Guerrero was mobbed by teammates as he rounded first base following his second game-ending hit for Texas and the 13th of his career.
"It's a family that wins together," Guerrero said through a translator. "We're playing really well."
Josh Hamilton had three hits for the AL West leaders, extending his career-best hitting streak to 18 games. Texas' winning streak is the longest in the majors this season. The club record is 14 consecutive wins in 1991.
"They don't quit," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "They don't give up. They play all nine innings. They never really feel they're out of games."
Frank Francisco (6-3) allowed two hits in a scoreless ninth, setting a career high for wins.
Pittsburgh starter Jeff Karstens gave up three runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings after the Pirates were knocked around for 19 runs in the first two games of the series.
The right-hander took a 5-3 lead into the seventh, striking out five and walking one in his fifth start since he was promoted from the bullpen on June 1.
But the Rangers, who trailed 4-0 after one inning, pulled even at 5 with a two-run seventh against Evan Meek on Young's RBI triple and Kinsler's run-scoring single.
Young, the franchise leader with 1,757 hits, became the club's triples king with 45, breaking a tie with Ruben Sierra.
Garrett Jones and Jose Tabata had three hits each for the Pirates, who've lost 15 of 17 and have the NL's worst record (25-47).
"We swung the bats well, we had guys in scoring position and guys on base, but we couldn't find a hole," manager John Russell said. "We were right there. It's hard to explain."
Hamilton went 3 for 4 in his return to the lineup after a day off. He is 36 for 72 (.500) during his hitting streak, raising his batting average from .281 to .345.
Hamilton requested Wednesday night off to rest a slightly sore hamstring in what he termed "the aches and pains of the season." But he insisted there's nothing seriously wrong and said he felt refreshed after the brief vacation.
Rangers starter Scott Feldman allowed five runs and 12 hits in six-plus innings with seven strikeouts and one walk.
Feldman was 3-1 with a 3.71 ERA in his previous four starts, but he was in trouble from the outset as Pittsburgh scored four in the first on Pedro Alvarez's two-run double and RBI singles by Jones and Ryan Doumit.
Still, the Rangers weren't worried.
"It was the first inning," Guerrero said. "We know we still have a lot of game to play."
Texas scored an unearned run in the second, courtesy of shortstop Bobby Crosby's fielding error, on Justin Smoak's RBI groundout.
After Pittsburgh made it 5-1 in the fourth on Neil Walker's sacrifice fly, Texas narrowed the deficit to two runs on sacrifice flies by Nelson Cruz and Smoak.
NOTES: Rangers general manager Jon Daniels paid off on a bet with Andrus when he added golden highlights to his brown hair Thursday. Daniels had accepted a dare from Andrus to dye his hair if the team's winning streak reached double digits, and Daniels reluctantly visited a hairdresser. ... Jackson, the sixth Pittsburgh pitcher of the night, was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis earlier in the day. The Pirates also purchased the contract of LHP Justin Thomas from Indianapolis to bolster their overworked bullpen. Pittsburgh designated LHP Dana Eveland for assignment. ... Russell is still undecided on a starter for Saturday at Oakland. There's an opening in the rotation after LHP Zach Duke went on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with left elbow soreness. ... Texas sent RHP Warner Madrigal outright to Triple-A Oklahoma City and removed him from the 40-man roster after Madrigal cleared waivers. ... The Rangers have won seven straight series for the fifth time in franchise history, one short of the club record set in 1977.