Rangers 10, Astros 5

Nelson Cruz’s case for a spot in the All-Star game just got a

little stronger.

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.

With the All-Star rosters set to be announced Saturday, and

likely no Texas players among the starters for the first time since

2007, Cruz sent his 21st homer into the bullpen in left-center

field to make it 6-0 in the second.

Cruz’s fate is in the hands of Detroit manager Jim Leyland, with

a combination of player and fan voting making the final choice. He

is hitting .268 and leads the team in homers and RBIs (65).

”He certainly deserves it,” said manager Ron Washington, who

had Leyland’s job the previous two years after the Rangers went to

the World Series. ”I do believe Jim will make the right decision

and the players will make the right decision.”

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


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 homer came after consecutive walks to

Ian Kinsler and Murphy. Elvis Andrus also was aboard on a one-out


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


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.

”The effort and focus is definitely there,” Astros manager Bo

Porter said. ”That goes without question with these guys. It’s one

of those things we’ve played good teams that have played well and

we have not played our best baseball. We just need to clean it up,

play solid baseball.”

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


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.

”All in all, he threw the ball well,” Cruz said.

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 and sent the Rangers to their highest scoring game since they

beat Detroit 11-8 on May 19.

”We know what we’re capable of as an offense,” said Murphy,

who was moved up to No. 2 in the order despite hitting just .221

because of a recent slump by Andrus. ”It’s been up and down a

little this year. We’re trying to finish strong (before the

All-Star break) and tonight was a great way to do that.”

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.

”You walk six guys, you’re going to give up a lot of runs,”

said Harrell, who gave up just one run in six innings in the loss

to Darvish. ”I couldn’t throw a breaking ball for a strike.”

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.