Rookie Nick Tepesch had a brilliant major league debut from and Lance Berkman drove in two runs as the Texas Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays for the second straight night, 6-1, at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Ground ball machine: There were many things to like about Nick Tepesch's major league debut. His composure. His appreciation of the moment. But nothing jumped out like Tepesch's final ground ball tally. He recorded 15 ground ball outs in 7 1/3 innings. He didn't have a fly out. He had five strikeouts. Tepesch threw 104 pitches in his big league debut, 62 for strikes. Tepesch dominated, though, by getting Rays hitters to beat the ball into the ground. His most impressive inning was the sixth when He retired Matt Joyce, Ben Zobrist and Evan Longoria, the Rays' 2-3-4 hitters, all on ground balls. Tepesch is the 14th pitcher to win his big league debut for the Rangers.
Hot again: For the third straight season, the Rangers have won at least six of their first eight games. The Rangers are 6-2 after Tuesday night's win. They opened last season with a 12-2 record and 2011 with a 9-1 record. The Rangers are 39-18 in April since 2011 for the best record in the opening month.
Can't stop Berkman: Lance Berkman had three more hits Tuesday, raising his batting average to .480. More impressively, Berkman has a .633 on-base percentage hitting in the No. 3 hole in the Rangers' lineup. Berkman had a two-out, two-run single in the third inning that turned the game, giving Texas a 2-1 lead.
Andrus makes it count: Shortstop Elvis Andrus is still trying to get into a groove, but he is making the most of his run-scoring opportunities. He had an RBI single in the fifth inning to give the Rangers a 3-1 lead. He scored Leonys Martin on a ground out in the seventh. Andrus is 2-for-6 with four RBIs with runners in scoring position.
Martin breaks through: Rookie center fielder Leonys Martin had reached base twice in four starts. He reached base in his first three plate appearances on Tuesday and scored each time. Martin had two singles to up his batting average from .077 to .188 for the season.