Rapid Reaction: Rangers 10, Astros 5
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers hit three home runs and cruised to a 10-5 victory over the Houston Astros on Friday night to open a three-game weekend series.
Offensive explosion: The Rangers did what they do best -- hammer Astros pitching. David Murphy got the party started with a two-run home run two batters into the bottom of the first. Nelson Cruz had a grand slam in the bottom of the second for a 6-0 lead. Adrian Beltre had his third home run in six at-bats with two outs in the bottom of the fourth. The Rangers also scored a run on Murphy's double play in the fourth. All of that led to a 9-0 lead before Astros starter Lucas Harrell departed the game.
First-inning runs: The Rangers scored multiple runs in the first inning for only the fourth time this season. It's the first time they've done so since March 22 against Oakland, when the Rangers scored three first-inning runs. Murphy's homer was the club's first in the opening inning since Jurickson Profar had a leadoff home run on May 26 at Seattle.
Boomstick, slam style: Cruz belted his sixth career grand slam, all of which have come at Rangers Ballpark. It's a ballpark record and also ties him for third place on the Rangers' all-time grand slam list with Dean Palmer and Rusty Greer. Cruz needs one more slam to tie Rafael Palmeiro and Juan Gonzalez for the all-time club lead.
Murphy and double digits: Murphy's home run in the first was his 10th of the season, giving him double-digit homers in six seasons.
Tepesch cruises until sixth: Nick Tepesch loves pitching against the Houston Astros. Of course, who doesn't? Tepesch had nine strikeouts, his new career high, to break his old record of eight set against the Astros earlier this season. He did run into his third-time-around mental block. Tepesch started the sixth inning by facing the top of the Astros' lineup for the third time, and he gave up a single, walk, single and double before being pulled from the game. Opponents are batting .476 the third time around or later against the rookie right-hander.
Up next: The Rangers continue a three-game series against in-state rival Houston with right-hander Yu Darvish (8-3, 2.78 ERA) facing left-hander Dallas Keuchel (4-5, 4.64 ERA) at 6:15 p.m. on FOX and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM. In the series finale on Sunday, right-hander Justin Grimm (7-6, 5.84 ERA) faces left-hander Erik Bedard (3-4, 4.59 ERA) at 2:05 p.m. on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540-AM.
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.