HOUSTON (AP) — Jeff Baker hit a tiebreaking home run in the seventh, and Texas relievers threw 3 1-3 hitless innings to lead the Rangers to a 4-2 win over the Houston Astros on Friday night.
Baker greeted Wesley Wright (0-1) with a leadoff home run to right field to give the Rangers their first lead of the night at 3-2.
Robbie Ross (1-0) pitched 1 1-3 perfect innings before Tanner Scheppers pitched the eighth and Joe Nathan the ninth for his 10th save of the season.
Nelson Cruz and David Murphy also hit home runs for the Rangers. Murphy’s shot leading off the ninth inning against Travis Blackley extended the Rangers’ lead.
Cruz tied the score at 2-2 with a monstrous solo home run to left field in the sixth off Houston starter Dallas Keuchel. The 416-foot shot bounced off the glass facade above the railroad tracks for Cruz’s eighth homer of the season.
Trevor Crowe put the Astros in front 1-0 in the second with a solo home run to left field off Alexi Ogando.
Elvis Andrus tied it at 1-1 in the third with a bases loaded walk. The Rangers loaded the bases with one out on a walk by Geovany Soto and singles by Craig Gentry and Ian Kinsler. Following Andrus’ walk, Keuchel struck out Lance Berkman and got Adrian Beltre to fly out to center to end the inning.
Houston responded with a run of its own in the bottom of the inning as Jose Altuve doubled with one out, advanced to third on Jason Castro’s groundout and scored on Ogando’s wild pitch to make it 2-1.
Ogando was rocky in the first, loading the bases on a walk to Chris Carter with two outs before inducing a flyout to center by Carlos Pena to end the inning.
Keuchel, making his first start of the season after appearing in six games this season out of the bullpen, allowed two runs on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts in six innings.
Ogando went 5 2-3 innings, allowing two runs and five hits with three strikeouts and a season-high four walks.
NOTES: Texas C A.J. Pierzynski was placed on the disabled list Friday, retroactive to May 6 with a right oblique strain. C Robinson Chirinos was recalled from Triple A Round Rock Friday to take Pierzynski’s place on the roster. … Houston RHP Josh Fields, who has been on the disabled list since April 4 with a strained right forearm, began a rehab assignment Friday with Class A Quad Cities. … Rangers RHP Yu Darvish, who is 5-1 with a 2.56 ERA, will take the mound Saturday for the first time against Houston since he threw 8 2-3 perfect innings against the Astros on April 2. Houston will counter with LHP Erik Bedard, who is 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA.