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Scoreless streak ends, but Rangers' Rogers still picks up win

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Kenny Rogers couldn't keep his scoreless streak going. Thanks to Laynce Nix, he kept his winning streak intact.

Nix hit a three-run homer, had a career-high six RBI and contributed to a defense that threw out two runners at the plate in the second inning, leading the Texas Rangers over the Houston Astros 7-3 Friday night.

Rogers (5-2) allowed three runs in eight innings to win his fifth straight start. His scoreless streak ended at 31 innings when Brad Ausmus hit a one-out single in the second that drove in Morgan Ensberg. It was the third-longest scoreless streak in Rangers history, falling eight innings shy of the Rangers' record that Rogers set in 1995.

"He has a great feel for what guys are trying to do against him," Rangers manager Buck Showalter said. "He knows who's in a swing mode and who's not."

Nix drove in the Rangers' first run in the second, hit a three-run homer in the fourth that broke a 1-1 tie and had a two-run single with the bases loaded in the eighth.

When Jason Lane tried to score from second on Ausmus' single to center field in the second inning, Nix threw him out at the plate.

"That's what kept us in the game," Nix said. "Kenny always does a great job of keeping us in the game, keeping it close. It feels good to help him."

After Nix's throw, Eric Bruntlett doubled to left, but Kevin Mench relayed the ball to shortstop Michael Young, who then threw out Ausmus at the plate.

Rangers first baseman Mark Teixeira also saved a near-errant throw by Rogers on Lance Berkman's comebacker after Craig Biggio's leadoff double in the sixth. Hank Blalock followed that up by catching Ensberg's hard liner to third base.

"It just shows the way the season's pretty much been going," Astros pitcher Brandon Backe said. "We call them 'at-'em' balls. We hit hard, just right at them."

Backe (3-3) allowed five runs and seven hits in seven-plus innings.

Rogers, as he has done all season, did not talk to reporters after his start. He allowed three runs -- his first since a 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay on April 21-- and a season-high 10 hits.

During Rogers' scoreless streak, which began April 27, he gave up 19 hits, walked 11, struck out 13 and held opponents to a .179 batting average. Rogers' ERA, which had dropped from 3.33 to an AL-best 1.49 coming in, rose to 1.73.

Lane drove in Biggio in the sixth with a single. The Astros scored their last run in the eighth on Ensberg's sacrifice fly.

Houston, which entered the game ranked last or next-to-last in nearly every offensive category in the NL, fell to 2-17 on the road.

"It's just a funk," Backe said. "Funk's are tough to get out of. One day, we'll find it."

Notes

  • Rangers DH David Dellucci left the game in the fourth inning because of a migraine headache.
  • Rangers 2B Alfonso Soriano snapped an 0-11 stretch with a double in the second inning.
  • A 30-inch silver boot will be awarded to the winner of the so-called Lone Star Series. It replaces the glass boot that was damaged when the Rangers brought it home after winning last year's interleague series at Houston.
  • The Rangers have won six of the past 10 meetings with the Astros, but trail 14-11 overall.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Kenny Rogers' 31-inning scoreless streak ends in the second, but he settles down and gets the win.  (AP)
Kenny Rogers' 31-inning scoreless streak ends in the second, but he settles down and gets the win. (AP)

Players of the Game
Texas

L. Nix
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 6
Houston

C. Biggio
AB 4
R 2
H 2
HR 0
RBI 0
 

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Houston Astros
Willy Taveras, CF4020000 .258
   a- Mike Lamb, PH1000000 .214
Jose Vizcaino, 1B4010003 .255
Craig Biggio, 2B4220001 .314
Lance Berkman, DH4010002 .190
    Todd Self, PR-DH0000000 .333
Morgan Ensberg, 3B2101101 .310
Jason Lane, RF4021001 .236
Adam Everett, SS4000004 .230
Brad Ausmus, C3011110 .253
Eric Bruntlett, LF3010012 .059
   b- Orlando Palmeiro, PH1000000 .341
Totals3431032214 
a-grounded out for Taveras in the 9th
b-grounded out for Bruntlett in the 9th
Batting
2B - Willy Taveras (4, Rogers), Craig Biggio (14, Rogers), Lance Berkman (2, Rogers), Jason Lane (10, Rogers), Eric Bruntlett (1, Rogers)
SF - Morgan Ensberg (1)
RBI - Morgan Ensberg (19), Jason Lane (17), Brad Ausmus (13)
2-OUT RBI - Jason Lane (5)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Vizcaino-Everett, Everett-Vizcaino, Everett-Biggio-Vizcaino
Houston Astros
Brandon Backe (L,3-3) 7755331 5.15
John Franco 0.1122110 4.26
Dan Wheeler 0.2100100 1.65
IBB - Soriano by John Franco
Pitches-Strikes - Brandon Backe 94-60, John Franco 12-6, Dan Wheeler 12-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brandon Backe 5-11, Dan Wheeler 1-0
Batters Faced - Brandon Backe 29, John Franco 3, Dan Wheeler 3
Texas Rangers
David Dellucci, DH2000010 .266
   a- Chad Allen, PH-DH2000001 .289
Michael Young, SS3130100 .265
Mark Teixeira, 1B4110013 .274
Hank Blalock, 3B3100124 .278
Alfonso Soriano, 2B3210101 .277
Kevin Mench, LF3121100 .294
Laynce Nix, CF4126000 .287
Richard Hidalgo, RF3000102 .200
Sandy Alomar Jr., C3000002 .310
Totals307975413 
a-flied out for Dellucci in the 4th
Batting
2B - Mark Teixeira (10, Franco), Alfonso Soriano (14, Backe), Kevin Mench (9, Backe)
HR - Laynce Nix (2, Backe)
RBI - Kevin Mench (16), Laynce Nix 6 (17)
SB - Richard Hidalgo (1, 2nd base off Backe/Ausmus)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Kevin Mench 1, Laynce Nix 1
Texas Rangers
Kenny Rogers (W,5-2) 81033210 1.73
Francisco Cordero 1000010 4.08
Pitches-Strikes - Kenny Rogers 103-64, Francisco Cordero 13-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kenny Rogers 6-15, Francisco Cordero 2-0
Batters Faced - Kenny Rogers 34, Francisco Cordero 3
Game Information
Attendance - 38109
Game Time - 2:33
Temperature - 91
Umpires - Home - Greg Gibson, First Base - Charlie Reliford, Second Base - Lance Barksdale, Third Base - Chad Fairchild