ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — In what has been a common theme the past two months, the Cleveland Indians couldn’t find a way to generate a big inning Wednesday night.
The Indians missed their chance to touch up Ryan Dempster in the middle innings, and the first-place Texas Rangers beat slumping Cleveland 5-2 despite losing Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre to injuries.
Cleveland came away with only a run in the fourth despite loading the bases with no outs. In the next inning, the Indians put their first two runners on base and could again only scratch out a single run against Dempster.
The Indians, who led the AL Central on June 23, have gone 15-43 since the All-Star break and are averaging 3.2 runs per game in that span.
‘‘It’s been rough,’’ Indians manager Manny Acta said. ‘‘A lot of our guys haven’t had a good second half. We have to continue to play and hope it will change.’’
Cleveland starter Jeanmar Gomez (5-8) allowed five runs and six hits in four innings. Gomez, who won his prior two starts against Texas this season, has not pitched more than six innings in his last nine starts.
Beltre hit a two-run homer in the first, his 13th in his last 20 games, and Hamilton added a solo shot in the third.
‘‘It’s been a tough year,’’ Gomez said. ‘‘I had a good spring training. I just have to learn all I can from this season.’’
Hamilton left in the eighth with left knee soreness and Beltre exited in the fifth with a strained left shoulder. Beltre had an MRI on Wednesday night and the results won’t be known until Thursday. Texas manager Ron Washington said taking Hamilton out of the game was precautionary and he didn’t consider the injury serious.
‘‘Hopefully, things won’t last long with those guys,’’ Washington said. ‘‘But we certainly can’t stop the season, so we’re going to play with what we've got and we’re going to expect to win.’’
Beltre injured his shoulder when he made a diving stop of Russ Canzler’s grounder in the second.
Mike Olt, who replaced Beltre at third, left the game in the bottom of the seventh with plantar fasciitis in his right foot. Olt, who will have an MRI Thursday, was limping just before he reached first beating out an infield single.
Ian Kinsler moved to third base for the first time in his career in the top of the eighth, and Jurickson Profar took over for Kinsler at second base.
‘‘Hopefully it’s just precautionary,’’ Kinsler said of his teammates’ injuries.
Dempster (11-6) won his fifth straight start and improved to 6-1 since he was acquired by the Rangers on July 31. The right-hander allowed two runs and struck out eight in seven innings.
Carlos Santana and Casey Kotchman each had an RBI for Cleveland, which didn’t have an extra-base hit off Dempster. The Indians remained tied with Minnesota for the worst record in the American League.
‘‘We had our opportunities,’’ Acta said. ‘‘But Dempster worked out of it.’’
Joe Nathan, who has converted his last 31 save opportunities, pitched the ninth for his 33rd save of the season.
First-place Texas maintained a three-game lead in the AL West over Oakland, which beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-1.
Kinsler led off the bottom of the first with a double and scored on Hamilton’s groundout to set the stage for a surging Beltre. Beltre hit a 1-0 pitch from Gomez over the fence in left to give the Rangers a 3-0 lead. It was his seventh home run in September.
‘‘He’s been smoking hot,’’ Acta said of Beltre. ‘‘He doesn’t miss any pitches. He’s in a very good groove right now.’’
Hamilton’s 434-foot blast landed several rows deep in the upper deck in right field. He leads the majors with 41 home runs and 121 RBIs.
That was plenty of support for Dempster, who retired the last nine batters he faced. Dempster has a 1.91 ERA over his last five starts. His eight strikeouts were his most since joining the Rangers.
Notes: Texas RHP Roy Oswalt (right forearm strain) said he plans to throw on Thursday. He left his start early Sunday against Tampa Bay. . Indians SS Asdrubal Cabrera (sore right wrist) took batting practice Wednesday, but missed his third straight game. . Cleveland RHP Roberto Hernandez (right ankle) is out of his walking boot and is expected to throw a bullpen session early next week. . Texas’ Mike Adams said he felt tightness in a muscle near his right shoulder Tuesday night and the reliever likely won’t pitch the next two to three days. . Cleveland’s Travis Hafner (back) is expected to take batting practice on Friday. . Texas opens the 2013 season at Houston, who will be playing their first season in the AL West. . Texas C Mike Napoli (strained left quad) hit a two-run homer and caught the entire game in a rehab assignment for Double-A Frisco.