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Kinsler's leadoff homer helps Rangers stop Jays in first game of doubleheader

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Aaron Hill fell to the ground in the batter's box, his eyes wide after a 97-mph fastball whizzed by his head. What was really unfair was the pitch Rangers rookie Neftali Feliz threw next.

Feliz snapped off a 79 mph breaking ball, freezing Hill for a called third strike and capping his latest impressive appearance in Texas' 5-2 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays in the first game of a doubleheader Tuesday.

After Dustin Nippert (5-2) allowed two runs over six innings, Feliz struck out four in two perfect innings. Three of the punchouts were called third strikes with off-speed pitches.

"It's unbelievable. I was sitting on the training room table watching it," Nippert said. "It's unreal, his stuff. I've never seen anything like it. It's a lot of fun to watch."

Unless you're trying to hit against him.

"He's real good. Very impressive," Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said.

Feliz has 26 strikeouts and one walk in 11 appearances spanning 19 2/3 innings since being promoted to the majors Aug. 2. The 21-year-old right-hander had a major league-best 0.51 ERA in August before lowering his career mark to 0.46 on the first day of September.

"As long as he's throwing that secondary stuff over the plate, they just can't sit on [the fastball]," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "That's what's important."

Frank Francisco worked the ninth for his 20th save in 23 chances.

Ian Kinsler got Texas started with a leadoff homer. Chris Davis, who had three hits, singled home two runs with a grounder in the fourth that slipped under the glove of first baseman Lyle Overbay, who appeared miffed that he didn't make the play with his backhand stab. That broke a 1-all tie and put Texas ahead to stay.

Nippert has won all three of his home starts this season. The right-hander's other two starts at Rangers Ballpark came against Boston, which began the day four games ahead of Texas in the AL wild-card race.

Kinsler's seventh leadoff homer this season and 12th of his career, both Rangers records, came on the third pitch from rookie left-hander Marc Rzepczynski (2-4).

Rzepczynski struck out a career-high nine in six innings, but also allowed eight hits.

"I pitched OK. It wasn't great at times. They hit a couple balls through holes," Rzepczynski said. "I struggled a little bit the first few innings to find my command."

Nelson Cruz walked with one out in the fourth before Ivan Rodriguez doubled high off the 14-foot wall in left. Taylor Teagarden struck out before Davis drove both of them home.

Cruz lined a two-run single up the middle in the seventh.

Michael Young went 0 for 2 with two walks, ending his 18-game hitting streak, which had been the longest active streak in the majors. He had also hit in 23 consecutive games at Rangers Ballpark, tying the team mark Rodriguez set in 1995.

Adam Lind homered and scored both Toronto runs. That came a day after Lind hit two homers and had a career-high eight RBIs in an 18-10 victory in the series opener.

Lind's solo homer in the sixth, his 28th, pulled Toronto to 3-2.

The other Blue Jays run came in the fourth at the start of a sequence in which All-Star third baseman Young was involved in three consecutive plays, with varied results.

Lind, who reached on a one-out walk, scored when Young was charged with an error for misplaying a grounder by Vernon Wells. Rod Barajas then was credited with an infield single on a chopper that ricocheted off the glove of Young, who then went to his left for Jose Bautista's grounder to start an inning-ending double play.

Game notes
Kinsler has 29 homers and 28 stolen bases, just short of becoming the third second baseman in major league history to join the 30-30 club. ... Blue Jays SS Marco Scutaro made two errors, the first time in 330 games he has committed multiple errors. He was charged with four on July 6, 2007. Scutaro had only four errors in his first 126 games this season.