HOUSTON (AP) – The Texas Rangers got a solid start on Wednesday night from Nick Tepesch, who was thrust into action because of mounting injuries in the rotation.
Unfortunately for the Rangers, the bullpen couldn’t build on his work in a 5-4 loss to the Houston Astros.
Matt Dominguez hit an RBI single off the right-field wall in the ninth inning to help the Astros win a series against their in-state rivals for the first time since 2008.
The Astros took two of three after losing 15 straight series to the Rangers. Houston overcame a four-run deficit to win.
Tepesch allowed one run and two hits in 5 1-3 innings, striking out eight in his season debut in the majors. He was called up from Triple-A Round Rock earlier in the day.
Tepesch is the ninth different pitcher to start for the injury-plagued Rangers this season, which is tied with the Chicago White Sox for most in the majors.
“He did a good job. He really did,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “He got us into the sixth inning and we had the pieces in the bullpen that we wanted in the game. We just didn’t shut them down.”
Tepesch thought he pitched OK, but is looking to improve.
“I was not getting ahead early and struggling with command early a little bit, but it did get better toward the end,” he said.
The Rangers used four relievers after his exit and all but Neal Cotts gave up at least one run.
“They just got us, and that’s all I can say,” Washington said. “They earned it.”
Dexter Fowler singled with one out in the ninth, Jason Castro drew a walk and Dominguez hit a long fly ball off Nick Martinez (0-1).
“Left the ball up that last pitch,” Martinez said. “Got deep in the count and left the fastball about belt high, so things happen. You have to learn from your mistakes.”
Chad Qualls (1-1) got the last two outs in the ninth for the win.
Alex Rios hit a solo homer, Adrian Beltre had three hits and Prince Fielder drove in two runs for Texas.
The Astros trailed 4-0 before scoring two runs in the sixth. Rookie George Springer tied it with a two-run homer in the seventh.
Jose Altuve singled to start the seventh before Springer launched his third career home run — and first at home — into the back of the seats in the Crawford Boxes in left field to make it 4-all.
A pair of walks and a single by Dominguez loaded the bases for Houston with one out in the sixth inning. Pinch-hitter Jesus Guzman cut the lead to 4-1 with an RBI single to shallow center and Chris Carter drove another run home with his single that dropped just inside the left-field line.
Rios gave the Rangers a 1-0 lead in the second. Fielder hit the third of three straight singles to send a run home and make it 2-0 in the third.
Elvis Andrus doubled to start the fifth inning and scored on a broken-bat single by Beltre to push the lead to 3-0. Fielder followed with an RBI double.
Scott Feldman allowed a season-high 10 hits with four runs in five innings.
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