Cruz hits slam as Tepesch, Rangers top Astros 10-5

Cruz hits slam as Tepesch, Rangers top Astros 10-5
July 5, 2013, 11:37 pm
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Texas Rangers' Nelson Cruz, left, is congratulated at the plate by Elvis Andrus, from second left, Ian Kinsler and David Murphy who scored on the Cruz grand slam that came off a pitch from Houston Astros' Lucas Harrell in the second inning of a baseball game Friday, July 5, 2013, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

(APWF)

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Nelson Cruz hit a grand slam, Nick Tepesch took a shutout into the sixth inning and the Texas Rangers beat the Houston Astros 10-5 on Friday night.

David Murphy and Adrian Beltre also homered for the Rangers, who won the first American League game in Arlington between the in-state rivals and beat Houston for the 10th time in 11 games overall.

Tepesch (4-6) had five strikeouts the first time through the Astros' lineup and had a career high of nine by the fourth inning. The rookie right-hander's previous best of eight strikeouts came in his last win - nine starts ago against the Astros on May 12.

Lucas Harrell (5-9) walked four in the first two innings and three of them scored. Cruz's 21st homer - a drive into the Houston bullpen in left-center field - came after consecutive walks to Ian Kinsler and Murphy and put Texas up 6-0. Elvis Andrus also was aboard on a one-out single.

New Astros president Reid Ryan had a front-row view of just how far his last-place team has to go to become a contender. He was sitting next to his dad, Hall of Fame pitcher and Rangers CEO Nolan Ryan.

The younger Ryan couldn't have been pleased by what he saw in the fourth inning. With two outs, Brett Wallace barely had to move before dropping a popup by Cruz near first base. Beltre followed with a shot off the foul pole in left for his third homer in six at-bats and No. 17 on the season.

Tepesch, who had a 12-1 lead before the bullpen struggled in a 12-7 win in Houston in May, was up 10-0 when he once again had trouble getting outs the third time through the order.

Four straight Astros reached to start the sixth, capped by a two-run double from Chris Carter that knocked out Tepesch. Carlos Pena and J.D. Martinez singled before Ross Wolf got a flyout and turned a double play on a soft liner back to him from Matt Dominguez.

Tepesch was charged with four runs and seven hits in five innings to go along with his nine strikeouts. Opposing batters are hitting .158 the first time they see Tepesch in a game, but .465 the third or fourth time.

The Rangers had scored one run in the first inning over their previous 25 games when Murphy hit a drive into the Texas bullpen in right-center after Kinsler's leadoff walk. It was Murphy's 10th homer.

Harrell, who was the losing pitcher when Texas ace Yu Darvish came within an out of a perfect game in the second game of the season, walked six to bring his season total to 53 in 103 2-3 innings. The Rangers had just five hits while scoring nine runs - seven earned - against him.

NOTES: Cruz's grand slam was his sixth at Rangers Ballpark, a record, and second this year. He also did it on April 21 against Seattle. ... Astros C Jason Castro had two hits and an RBI. ... Manny Ramirez, the 41-year-old slugger who signed a minor league deal with Texas this week, will serve as the designated hitter when he plays his first game for Triple-A Round Rock on Sunday. ... Rangers RHP Kyle McClellan accepted an outright assignment to Double-A Frisco and is expected to report Sunday. ... RHP Alexi Ogando (right shoulder inflammation) is set for his first rehab start Saturday at Round Rock. He's on the DL for the second time this season.