Rangers 7, Astros 3

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP)—Kenny Rogers couldn’t keep his scoreless streak going. Thanks to Laynce Nix, he kept his winning streak intact.

Nix hit a three-run homer, had a career-high six RBIs and contributed to a defense that threw out two runners at the plate in the second inning, leading the Texas Rangers over the Houston Astros 7-3 Friday night.

Rogers (5-2) allowed three runs in eight innings to win his fifth straight start. His scoreless streak ended at 31 innings when Brad Ausmus hit a one-out single in the second that drove in Morgan Ensberg. It was the third-longest scoreless streak in Rangers history, falling eight innings shy of the Rangers’ record that Rogers set in 1995.

“He has a great feel for what guys are trying to do against him,” Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. “He knows who’s in a swing mode and who’s not.”

Nix drove in the Rangers’ first run in the second, hit a three-run homer in the fourth that broke a 1-1 tie and had a two-run single with the bases loaded in the eighth.

When Jason Lane tried to score from second on Ausmus’ single to center field in the second inning, Nix threw him out at the plate.

“That’s what kept us in the game,” Nix said. “Kenny always does a great job of keeping us in the game, keeping it close. It feels good to help him.”

After Nix’s throw, Eric Bruntlett doubled to left, but Kevin Mench relayed the ball to shortstop Michael Young, who then threw out Ausmus at the plate.

Rangers first baseman Mark Teixeira also saved a near-errant throw by Rogers on Lance Berkman’s comebacker after Craig Biggio’s leadoff double in the sixth. Hank Blalock followed that up by catching Ensberg’s hard liner to third base.

“It just shows the way the season’s pretty much been going,” Astros pitcher Brandon Backe said. “We call them `at-‘em’ balls. We hit hard, just right at them.”

Backe (3-3) allowed five runs and seven hits in seven-plus innings.

Rogers, as he has done all season, did not talk to reporters after his start. He allowed three runs—his first since a 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay on April 21— and a season-high 10 hits.

During Rogers’ scoreless streak, which began April 27, he gave up 19 hits, walked 11, struck out 13 and held opponents to a .179 batting average. Rogers’ ERA, which had dropped from 3.33 to an AL-best 1.49 coming in, rose to 1.73.

Lane drove in Biggio in the sixth with a single. The Astros scored their last run in the eighth on Ensberg’s sacrifice fly.

Houston, which entered the game ranked last or next-to-last in nearly every offensive category in the NL, fell to 2-17 on the road.

“It’s just a funk,” Backe said. “Funk’s are tough to get out of. One day, we’ll find it.”

Notes

Rangers DH David Dellucci left the game in the fourth inning because of a migraine headache. … Rangers 2B Alfonso Soriano snapped an 0-11 stretch with a double in the second inning … A 30-inch silver boot will be awarded to the winner of the so-called Lone Star Series. It replaces the glass boot that was damaged when the Rangers brought it home after winning last year’s interleague series at Houston. … The Rangers have won six of the past 10 meetings with the Astros, but trail 14-11 overall.

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