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Solid pitching, two homers spur Rangers' 5-0 win

The SportsXchange

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Two Texas Rangers hits, two home runs.

The Rangers (11-6) used the long ball for its only two hits through seven innings and added three runs in the eighth on Saturday night in a 5-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

A.J. Pierzynski's fourth-inning home run, the Rangers' first hit of the game, was followed by David Murphy's seventh-inning blast.

Seattle (7-12) left eight men on base and failed to push a runner beyond second all night. The Mariners were shut out for the second consecutive night.

Texas starter Nick Tepesch went just 1 2/3 innings in his third start of the season. The right-hander exited after a line drive bounced off the top of his right wrist, causing a contusion. Tepesch departed after striking out three and throwing just three balls out of his 21 pitches.

"It wasn't too bad, but it definitely was there," Tepesch said of the pain. "It could have been a lot worse. I was fortunate that the results weren't too bad and I can start getting ready for the next one. It scrapped me more than getting solid contact."

Tepesch attempted to stay in the game, throwing practice pitches after the injury. But Pierzynski said blood was running down Tepesch's arm. Manager Ron Washington said the team wasn't going to take a chance on a long-term injury.

"It is Washington's call," Tepesch said. "I wanted to stay in, but it is his call."

Derek Lowe (1-0) entered to relieve Tepesch and retired 11 of the 12 batters he faced. The lone Mariner to reach base was hit by a pitch. Lowe left in the sixth after striking out one in four innings.

"It was certainly needed," Washington said of Lowe's long relief appearance. "He did an outstanding job and kept us in that ballgame. There wasn't anything that happened out there that he hasn't been a part of. He was able to come in there cold and get loose and get the job done. You can tell by his routine that he is prepared for whatever."

The Rangers used pitcher-by-committee for the remaining 2 2/3 innings. Joe Ortiz replaced Lowe and gave up a two-out single and a walk but forced a grounder to end the threat. Tanner Scheppers went 1 1/3 innings and Jason Frasor pitched the ninth to complete the Rangers' second consecutive win over the Mariners.

"They proved that they have a heartbeat," Washington said. "It is not easy at the major-league level. They got outs when we needed them. I loved it."

In the fourth, Pierzynski sent a one-out pitch to deep center field, sailing just over the wall. Murphy doubled the Texas hit total in the seventh with a home run into the Texas bullpen in right field.

"We were pitching great and it was 0-0 and we had no hits," Pierzynski said. "To get on the board was big. But the pitching staff is the story. They did a good enough job in holding them down and we were finally able to rally to put some distance between us and them."

Pierzynski was the only Rangers player with two hits. He had two RBI in four plate appearances and scored a run. Murphy hit his second home run in as many days.

"My second at-bat I wanted to see a few pitches," Murphy said. "I was waiting on a fastball and got one. I felt good last night and the night before in Chicago. I feel like I took a step in the right direction."

Seattle had its chances to score late. The Mariners put runners in scoring position in each of the final four innings but failed to move the runner past second.

A single and a walk put runners on base with no out in the eighth. Adrian Beltre fielded a hard-hit grounder right at him, tagging the Seattle runner attempting to go to third and firing to first to complete a double play. Michael Morse then grounded out for the final out of the inning.

Leonys Martin opened the Rangers' eighth with a single and Ian Kinsler followed with a walk. The pair advanced on a passed ball and Lance Berkman singled through the infield to score both. Two batters later, Pierzynski delivered his second hit of the game to score the Rangers' third run.

The Mariners pushed a runner to third again in the ninth but came up empty.

NOTES: Two Texas minor-league prospects were added to their respective team's injury lists. Outfielder Zach Cone underwent surgery for a torn Achilles' tendon and is expected to miss the rest of the season. Left-hander Kevin Matthews is scheduled to have a bone spur removed Monday. Both have been on the Rangers' high-Class A rosters. ... Texas will look to complete its first series sweep of the season on Sunday afternoon. The Rangers are scheduled to send Justin Grimm (0-0, 4.50) to the mound to face Aaron Harang (0-1, 5.40).
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