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Houston (32-57)020110000481
Texas (51-37) «30101000x572

Rangers 5, Astros 4

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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Joakim Soria pitched in the big leagues for the first time in nearly two years. Cory Burns started his day in the minors and ended it with his first win in the majors.

The Texas right-handers were two of five bright spots for a bullpen that bailed out rookie starter Justin Grimm on Sunday.

A.J. Pierzynski hit a three-run homer, and a quintet of relievers threw five shutout innings to make Nelson Cruz's go-ahead single stand up in the Rangers' 5-4 victory against the Houston Astros.

"This bullpen deserves all the credit today," Pierzynski said.

Each reliever pitched a scoreless inning apiece, starting with Burns when he escaped a jam with runners on first and third and no outs in the fifth.

Soria came out for the sixth, followed by right-hander Jason Frasor and left-hander Neal Cotts, who got pinch-hitter Chris Carter on a called third strike with the potential tying run at third in the eighth.

Closer Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth for his 29th save in 30 chances a day after making his sixth All-Star team and second in two seasons with Texas.

It was Soria's first big league appearance since Sept. 11, 2011, when the two-time All-Star with 160 career saves was the closer for the Kansas City Royals before getting shut down by elbow reconstruction surgery.

"I've been working really hard so it was no time to doubt myself or get nervous," Soria said. "Everything I've worked for is here now, and I'm just going to enjoy it."

He looked like he was, protecting a one-run lead by getting Carlos Corporan and Carlos Pena on grounders and rookie Marc Krauss on a flyout.

"He looked like he hadn't missed a day," said Pierzynski, the Texas catcher who watched the steady parade of relievers. "Most guys that haven't pitched in over a year are a little nervous, a little fidgety out there. He was like, 'Ho hum, another spring training game.' "

Pierzynski gave the Rangers a 3-0 lead in the first inning with his eighth home run, a shot into the Texas bullpen in right field after back-to-back walks to Elvis Andrus and Cruz by Erik Bedard (3-5).

Krauss answered with his first career homer in the second, a two-run shot off Grimm.

Cruz's single scored Ian Kinsler for a 5-4 lead after Houston had pulled even in a fifth inning that included three errors, two unearned runs and two unusual double plays.

"I felt like we had some chances offensively," Houston manager Bo Porter said. "We just weren't able to come up with the big hit."

Grimm allowed singles to Brandon Barnes and Matt Dominguez to start the fifth, and both moved up when Grimm's throw on a pickoff attempt at second went into center field.

The Rangers had Barnes picked off at third, but Jurickson Profar -- filling in for Gold Glove third baseman Adrian Beltre -- let Pierzynski's throw from behind the plate sail past his glove into left field. Profar got the error, and Barnes scored for a 4-all tie.

Grimm was replaced after a walk to No. 9 hitter Jake Elmore, and Cory Burns retired Jose Altuve on a pop out. Burns escaped the inning when Brett Wallace struck out and Elmore was tagged out by shortstop Elvis Andrus on a steal attempt after sliding past the bag at second.

Burns was called up from Triple-A Round Rock and made the 2½-hour drive to the Dallas area Sunday morning. Then he found himself in a sticky situation.

"But that's what the bullpen is for," said Burns, who had an 0-1 career record with 17 appearances in San Diego and three in an earlier Texas stint. "That's what we trained for all through the minor leagues is to come into those type of situations."

Altuve botched a routine grounder from Kinsler to start the Texas fifth. After Andrus walked, Kinsler scored for a 5-4 Texas lead on a single from Cruz, who was later thrown out trying to go to second on a deep flyout to center field by Pierzynski.

"I'm just glad the two mistakes we made didn't cost us anything but a tie game, and we were able to put a run on the board and win it," Rangers manager Ron Washington said.

J.D. Martinez had three singles for Houston but never made it to second base. He was picked off by Grimm to end the fourth after driving in Corporan to pull Houston to 4-3.

Notes

The Rangers put DH Lance Berkman (left hip inflammation) and RHP Nick Tepesch (right elbow inflammation) on the disabled list. Soria was reinstated from the 60-day DL, and RHP Cory Burns was called up from Triple-A Round Rock. ... The Astros are moving RHP Lucas Harrell to the bullpen. He is 5-9 with a 5.04 ERA after giving up nine runs (seven earned) in 3 2-3 innings in a 10-5 loss to the Rangers on Friday. A replacement hasn't been announced. ... The Texas-Arizona game that was postponed by rain on May 29 will be made up Aug. 1. It was a scheduled off-day for both teams.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Players of the Game
Houston

M. Krauss
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
Texas

A. Pierzynski
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 3
 
Houston Astros
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jose Altuve, 2B4010002 .283
Brett Wallace, 1B4000023 .180
Carlos Corporan, C4110011 .283
Carlos Pena, DH2100111 .213
    Chris Carter, PH-DH1000011 .228
Marc Krauss, LF4112011 .217
J.D. Martinez, RF4031000 .256
Brandon Barnes, CF3110012 .247
    Jason Castro, PH1000000 .270
Matt Dominguez, 3B3010022 .225
Jake Elmore, SS2000101 .205
Totals3248329  
a-struck out for Pena in the 8th
b-popped out for Barnes in the 9th
Batting
HR - Marc Krauss (1, Grimm)
RBI - Marc Krauss 2 (4), J.D. Martinez (32)
2-OUT RBI - J.D. Martinez (14)
SB - Jose Altuve 2 (21, 2nd base off Cotts/Pierzynski)
CS - Brandon Barnes (6, 2nd base by Grimm/Pierzynski), Jake Elmore (2, 2nd base by Burns/Pierzynski)
PK - J.D. Martinez (1, Grimm)
Team LOB - 3
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Brandon Barnes 1
DP - Elmore-Altuve-Wallace, Elmore-Altuve-Wallace-Barnes-Altuve
E - Jose Altuve (8, Misplayed grounder)
Houston Astros
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Erik Bedard (L,3-5) 6.1554542 4.67
Paul Clemens 0.2200010 5.23
Wesley Wright 1000020 4.18
Pitches-Strikes - Erik Bedard 104-61, Paul Clemens 18-11, Wesley Wright 12-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Erik Bedard 4-9, Paul Clemens 1-0
Batters Faced - Erik Bedard 27, Paul Clemens 4, Wesley Wright 3
Texas Rangers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Ian Kinsler, 2B4110002 .286
Elvis Andrus, SS2110202 .244
Nelson Cruz, RF3111112 .275
Adrian Beltre, DH4111006 .308
A.J. Pierzynski, C4113022 .274
Jurickson Profar, 3B3000120 .246
David Murphy, LF3010111 .222
Robinson Chirinos, 1B3000002 .160
Leonys Martin, CF3010010 .295
Totals2957557  
Batting
HR - Adrian Beltre (18, Bedard), A.J. Pierzynski (8, Bedard)
RBI - Nelson Cruz (67), Adrian Beltre (47), A.J. Pierzynski 3 (29)
2-OUT RBI - A.J. Pierzynski 3 (7)
CS - Jurickson Profar (3, 2nd base by Bedard/Corporan)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - Pierzynski-Kinsler, Pierzynski-Kinsler-Pierzynski-Andrus
E - Justin Grimm (1, Throwing), Jurickson Profar (5, Missed catch of throw)
Texas Rangers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Justin Grimm 4643221 5.88
Cory Burns (W,1-0) 1000010 3.86
Joakim Soria (H,1) 1000000 0.00
Jason Frasor (H,5) 1100020 2.59
Neal Cotts (H,7) 1100030 1.09
Joe Nathan (S,29) 1000010 1.40
WP - Justin Grimm (4)
Pitches-Strikes - Justin Grimm 83-47, Cory Burns 7-4, Joakim Soria 11-7, Jason Frasor 11-9, Neal Cotts 20-15, Joe Nathan 20-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Justin Grimm 7-1, Joakim Soria 2-1
Batters Faced - Justin Grimm 18, Cory Burns 2, Joakim Soria 3, Jason Frasor 4, Neal Cotts 4, Joe Nathan 3
Game Information
Attendance - 36746
Game Time - 3:16
Temperature - 93
Umpires - Home - Jeff Nelson, First Base - Ed Hickox, Second Base - Jim Joyce, Third Base - Cory Blaser