Rapid Reaction: Rangers 12, Astros 7
HOUSTON -- The Texas Rangers finished off a three-game sweep of the struggling Houston Astros with an authoritative 12-7 victory on Sunday afternoon at Minute Maid Park.
Offensive onslaught: Manager Ron Washington gave his top two RBI men entering Sunday, Nelson Cruz and Ian Kinsler, the day off, and the Rangers still pounded out 17 hits and walloped three home runs. Every Ranger in the starting lineup had a base hit. They put up crooked numbers in the third, fourth and fifth innings. The bottom third of the order was 4-for-10 with two home runs and three RBIs.
Murphy getting hot: Left fielder David Murphy saw the training staff an hour before the game to make sure he was good to go after crashing into the left-field fence Saturday night. Murphy was clearly hobbled, but he swung his way through Sunday, going 1-for-4 with a two-run home run. Murphy has a seven-game hitting streak and has homers in two of the past three games. He raised his batting average to .202. He also had a fine running catch on a sinking line drove in the first inning.
Umpires get review correct: Adrian Beltre crushed an apparent three-run home run to left-center field in the fifth inning for a 12-1 lead. But it was first ruled a double by the umpiring crew. Washington asked for a review, and, unlike earlier this week when Angel Hernandez and his crew robbed Oakland of a clear game-tying homer, Sunday's umpires got the call right. Crew chief Jeff Kellogg returned from a video review and awarded Beltre his eighth home run of the season.
Tepesch is solid: Starter Nick Tepesch came back from two rocky outings to allow just a run in six innings. He had a career-high eight strikeouts and only one walk. Tepesch won for the first time since April 25 against Minnesota.
Martin homers: Leonys Martin made it three straight games with a home run for the Rangers' starting right fielder. Martin started Sunday for Cruz, who had a planned day off after hitting game-tying home runs in Friday and Saturday's wins over the Astros. Martin went 2-for-4 and belted his second home run of the season to lead off the Rangers' four-run fifth inning.
Garcia with a big day: Utility man Leury Garcia started for Ian Kinsler at second base and was 3-for-5 with three consecutive singles and four runs scored. Garcia had an RBI single in the fourth inning and also had a stolen base in the third.
Berkman's streak alive for next time: Lance Berkman extended his Minute Maid hitting streak to 18 games with an RBI double in the first inning. He also had an RBI with a groundout with no outs and Garcia at third in the third inning for a 2-0 lead.
Kirkman rebounds: Left-handed reliever Michael Kirkman had a perfect seventh inning. It was a nice bounce back for Kirkman, who allowed two hits to the only two Astros he faced in Saturday night's game, forcing closer Joe Nathan into the game with a four-run lead in the bottom of the ninth. The Rangers survived for an 8-7 victory.
Up Next: The Rangers head to the West Coast for a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics. The last time the Rangers were in Oakland, they got swept and lost the American League West on the last day of the 2012 regular season. Right-hander Justin Grimm (2-2, 3.45 ERA) will pitch Monday night's series opener against Oakland right-hander A.J. Griffin (3-3, 3.83 ERA) at 9:07 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM. The rest of the pitching matchups are: LHP Derek Holland (3-2, 2.54 ERA) vs. RHP Bartolo Colon (3-2, 4.57 ERA) for Tuesday night and RHP Alexi Ogando (3-2, 3.09 ERA) vs. RHP Dan Straily (1-1, 7.06 ERA) for Wednesday afternoon.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.