ARLINGTON, Texas -- Detroit scored two runs in the top of the fifth and made them stand up, beating the Rangers 2-1 on Friday night in a low-scoring game that came after a failed pitching duel between Yu Darvish and Justin Verlander on Thursday night.
The Rangers and Tigers have split the first two games of the series heading into Saturday and Sunday.
No solving Porcello: Rick Porcello went into Friday night's start with a 6.68 ERA. It took the Rangers five innings to score against him. Porcello, who doesn't walk many, had only one base on balls, and the Rangers managed only five hits off of him, including catcher Geovany Soto's solo home run to lead off the fifth inning.
Soto goes back-to-back: Soto hit a home run for the second straight game. He hit a 2-2 sinker from Porcello into the left-field seats to cut the lead to 2-1. Soto hit only the second home run of the season off Verlander on Thursday, a three-run shot to knock the All-Star right-hander out of the game.
Cruz can't come through: Nelson Cruz hit into two double plays, the second one a rally-killer with runners at first and third and one out and the Rangers trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the eighth. Cruz hit a ground ball to second base that Ramon Santiago and Jhonny Peralta were able to turn to keep their team in the lead. Cruz also bounced into a double play with two on and no out in the fourth inning with the game still scoreless.
Tepesch gets only five: Nick Tepesch had an uneven start. He allowed only two runs, both in the top of the fifth. But it took him 97 pitches to get through five innings. Tepesch had three walks, only the third time in eight starts he's walked three or more batters. He did have to face down the top of the Tigers' lineup in the fifth inning and was hurt by an RBI double by Miguel Cabrera. Alex Avila added a sacrifice fly that ended up being the difference in the game.
Wasted chance in the third: Leonys Martin had a one-out triple in the third inning, and the Rangers, who had only five sacrifice flies in 41 games going into Friday's game, got a lineout to first base by Elvis Andrus and a strikeout looking by Leury Garcia as they continued to struggle in situations with a runner at third and fewer than two outs.
Bullpen goes to work: The Rangers' bullpen, which got a break with Darvish's 130-pitch outing on Thursday, kept the offense within striking distance with four hitless innings. Joseph Ortiz had a perfect inning and Robbie Ross went 1⅔ innings, with one strikeout and allowing no hits. Jason Frasor also got an out, and newcomer Cory Burns retired both Tigers he faced.