A.J. Pierzynski and Mitch Moreland hit consecutive home runs off birthday boy Jeremy Hellickson and the Texas Rangers held on for a 5-4 victory over Tampa Bay in their series opener Monday night.
After Pierzynski's first homer for Texas, a two-out solo shot in the fourth that made it 2-1, Moreland pulled a 428-foot shot deep into the Texas bullpen in right-center field.
Alexi Ogando (2-0) allowed only one run on three hits but needed 89 pitches to get through 5 1-3 innings. The right-hander walked three and struck out two five days after getting a career-high 10 strikeouts in 6 1-3 innings at Houston.
Joe Nathan, Texas' fifth pitcher, gave up a run in the ninth, but still got his second save this season and 300th of his career.
Hellickson (0-1), who turned 26, gave up three runs and five hits over five innings. He needed 30 pitches to get out of the first, including a nine-pitch leadoff walk by Ian Kinsler, and threw 98 pitches overall.
Elvis Andrus, in a 2-for-18 slide before singling in the fifth, added a two-run single in the Rangers seventh for a 5-1 lead.
Pierzynski became the seventh different player to homer for the Rangers in their seven games. Moreland then hit his second homer of the season, part of his three hits against the Rays after going 2 for 21 the first six games.
Even though Kinsler got caught stealing in the first, Texas went up 1-0 when Lance Berkman scored from first base on Adrian Beltre's two-out bloop double. Left fielder Sam Fuld made a diving attempt to catch the ball, which instead went under his glove and rolled behind him.
Tampa Bay got even in the second. Evan Longoria drew a leadoff walk in the second, and scored when second baseman Kinsler made a throwing error when trying to complete a double play.
Yunel Escobar reached second base on that misplay. But Escobar didn't score in part because of a running, over-the-shoulder catch by right fielder Nelson Cruz only steps from the wall for the second out, a play that had third-base coach Tom Foley shaking his head in disbelief.
Longoria was 3 for 3, all singles, including one in the eighth when the Rays loaded the bases and scored twice. He is hitting .417 (10 of 24) with only singles and is longer into any previous season before his first home run.
Ogando, an All-Star starter in 2011 before working out of the bullpen last season, got into the sixth before walking Ben Zobrist and giving up another single to Longoria.
Joe Ortiz, the 22-year-old rookie lefty who is only 5-foot-7, got out of that jam with a pair of grounders and then worked a 1-2-3 seventh.
Hellickson pitched on his birthday for the second year in a row. On his 25th birthday, his 2012 debut, he pitched 8 2-3 scoreless innings in the Rays' 3-0 win over the New York Yankees.
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