Tigers-Rangers Preview

The Associated Press

Not even the Detroit Tigers' ace could slow down the Texas Rangers' red-hot lineup.

After another impressive offensive display in the series opener, host Texas seeks an eighth victory in nine tries Friday night against Detroit.

The Rangers have been on a tear of late, scoring at least six runs in five of their last six games and outscoring opponents 51-33 over their last eight. Eight different players scored one run as they roughed up Justin Verlander for eight runs in 2 2-3 innings of Thursday's 10-4 victory.

Geovany Soto hit a three-run homer that chased Verlander, Nelson Cruz hit a solo shot for his fourth homer in six games and Mitch Moreland added two doubles and three RBIs.

Moreland was hitting .157 on April 20, but he's hit .374 with seven homers among his 18 extra-base hits over his last 24 games to boost his average to .296. He's 7 for 15 (.467) during a four-game hitting streak versus Detroit.

The Rangers, who will be going for a season-best fifth straight home win Friday, have scored at least seven runs six times while winning eight of the last 11 meetings with Detroit.

While Texas (27-14) has the best record in the majors, the Tigers (22-17) have had their share of problems lately, losing six of nine.

Detroit has dropped three straight on the road and Prince Fielder is 2 for 17 (.118) with five strikeouts during a five-game slump. Miguel Cabrera is 2 for 9 over his last two, but he's still second in the majors with a .366 average.

Cabrera is hitting .371 with 12 homers and 24 doubles in his career versus the Rangers, including the Tigers' six-game loss in the 2011 AL championship series.

"We really grinded out our at-bats (Thursday) and (the Rangers) did, too," manager Jim Leyland said. "That's one thing (that) club does and that's one thing we do, too.''

Detroit will be looking to get back on track with help from Rick Porcello, who has pitched much better of late.

Since giving up nine runs in two-thirds of an inning of a 10-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on April 20, Porcello (1-2, 6.68 ERA) is 1-0 with a 3.72 ERA over his last three starts. He allowed two runs in six innings of Detroit's 4-3, 10-inning loss to Cleveland on Sunday.

The right-hander has had a rough time against Texas, though, going 2-3 with a 7.83 ERA in five career regular-season starts.

The Rangers will counter with Nick Tepesch as he makes his first career start versus the Tigers.

Tepesch (3-3, 4.03) had an impressive outing Sunday, allowing one run and striking out a season-best eight in six innings of a 12-7 win over Houston. The rookie had allowed 11 runs and 14 hits in 10 2-3 innings while dropping his previous two starts.

"It's something to build off and take into the next start, keep that same focus," Tepesch said.

Manager Ron Washington praised his right-hander for bouncing back from the rough outings.

"Tepesch did a good job," he said. "He had a good sinker working, and his breaking ball had bite. Hopefully he got back on track."

The Rangers have an AL-best 3.45 ERA.

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