ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers are celebrating all things Elvis this weekend, hosting dozens of Elvis Presley impersonators and showing clips of the King on the video board.
But the star of the show was 21-year-old Elvis Andrus.Andrus drove in the winning run with a one-out single in the ninth to lift the Rangers to a 5-4 victory over the Detroit Tigers on Friday night."What a finish to a nice game," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "Elvis Weekend, and he's the one that gets the hit for us. Those guys in that clubhouse, they don't quit. They keep trying."With the game tied at 4, Justin Smoak, called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City earlier in the day for his major league debut, led off the ninth with a walk off Fu-Te Ni (0-1).Smoak advanced to second on Matt Treanor's sacrifice bunt, and pinch hitter Ryan Garko was intentionally walked.Ryan Perry walked pinch hitter Nelson Cruz to load the bases, and Andrus drove in pinch runner Joaquin Arias from third with a line drive to center on an 0-2 pitch.Andrus anticipated a cut fastball from Perry, and that's what he got."My first two swings, I was trying to get a fly ball deep to the outfield to drive in the run," Andrus said. "I was looking for that cutter again and I put a good swing on it."Andrus was mobbed by teammates near first base, and then got a shaving cream pie in the face from a few of the veteran players while he was being interviewed on the field."It my first time for a walk-off hit," Andrus said. "It feels amazing, like you're the champion, the best that night. I can't wait to get more walk-off hits."Vladimir Guerrero homered and reached base three times for Texas. He hit a two-run homer in the first, doubled and later scored in the fourth, and walked in the eighth.The Rangers got strong work from their bullpen until closer Naftali Felix faltered in the ninth for his first blown save after converting his first two opportunities of the season.Dustin Nippert pitched 1 2/3 innings of one-hit relief, Frank Francisco followed with a perfect seventh, and Chris Ray retired the side in order in the eighth.Feliz retired the first two hitters he faced in the ninth, but he gave up an infield single to Austin Jackson, a double to Johnny Damon, and Magglio Ordonez tied it at 4 with a two-run single.Feliz (1-0) got the decision when the Rangers rallied in the bottom of the inning.Miguel Cabrera had two RBIs for the Tigers.Tigers starter Max Scherzer gave up four runs -- three earned -- and five hits in seven innings. He struck out seven and walked two.The Tigers were looking for a long outing from Scherzer to give their overworked bullpen a break."I needed to put in a good quality start tonight," Scherzer said. "I knew I couldn't walk a bunch of guys."Scott Feldman had been scheduled to start for Texas, but had a stomach virus and the Rangers decided to give him an extra day to recover, giving the ball to Rich Harden.Harden allowed two runs and six hits in 4 1/3 innings. He struck out five and walked four while throwing 99 pitches.Harden, who went on regular rest because of last Monday's off day, has been struggling with high pitch counts in his first four starts for the Rangers. He's thrown at least 90 pitches in each start but hasn't been able to last longer than six innings."Tonight I thought he was better," Washington said. "They didn't exactly hit him around the ballpark."In the first, Michael Young singled and Guerrero ripped a two-out homer onto the grass hitter's background in center field.Guerrero gave the Rangers a 3-0 lead in the fourth when he doubled, went to third on Scherzer's wild pitch, and scored when an error was charged to Tigers catcher Alex Avila.Avila tried to scoop the ball with his mask on the wild pitch, an illegal play that cost Avila an error and allowed Guerrero to cross the plate.Cabrera's two-run single in the fifth narrowed the deficit to 3-2. Rookie Brennan Boesch's single later in the inning loaded the bases and ended Harden's outing. Nippert got Brandon Inge to line into a double play on his first pitch to keep Texas in front, 3-2.
The Tigers placed OF Carlos Guillen on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring and called up Boesch from Triple-A Toledo. Boesch was the DH in the No. 5 slot and doubled in the second inning on his first major league at-bat. ... Rangers 2B Ian Kinsler had 10 at-bats and four innings on defense during an extended spring training game in Arizona on Friday. Kinsler is on the 15-day DL due to a sprained right ankle sustained during spring training and there's no timetable for his return. ... Cruz missed the start due to a right hamstring problem. Cruz, who leads the Rangers with seven homers, DHed on Thursday night in Boston after leaving the two previous games early as an outfielder.