Rangers rookie pitcher shuts down Rays - WFLA News Channel 8

Rangers rookie pitcher shuts down Rays

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ARLINGTON, TX (WFLA) -

Nick Tepesch pitched into the eighth inning in his major league debut, Lance Berkman had a key two-run single among three hits and the Texas Rangers beat the Tampa Bay Rays 6-1 Tuesday night. 

Tepesch retired 12 straight batters before hesitating to pick up a slow roller from Kelly Johnson that went for a one-out single in the eighth. The 24-year-old right-hander left to a standing ovation after Desmond Jennings followed with his second double of the game.

Tepesch (1-0) allowed four hits and a run with three walks and five strikeouts.

Roberto Hernandez (0-2) gave up eight hits and six runs - five earned - in 6 2-3 innings. 

Berkman gave Texas a 2-1 lead in the third on a two-run bloop single that just eluded diving second baseman Ben Zobrist in right-center. Ian Kinsler scored from first after breaking quickly and getting around third just as the ball was landing. 

Texas reliever Jason Frasor got Shelley Duncan on a fly to right for the final out, a much less dramatic ending than Monday when Joe Nathan earned his 300th save on a strike call that plate umpire Marty Foster later acknowledged was wrong. 

After a 1-2-3 first, Tepesch walked the bases loaded in the second, getting a visit from pitching coach Mike Maddux after a two-out pass to Yunel Escobar. Tepesch walked Jose Molina after Maddux left, but struck out Johnson on three pitches, the last a 79 mph curveball after hitting 94 mph on a fastball to Evan Longoria earlier in the inning. 

Rangers manager Ron Washington decided to let Tepesch start the eighth with a pitch count of 96. Tepesch would have retired Johnson if he had just picked up the ball along the first-base line, but hesitated just long enough to allow Johnson to reach. 

Washington talked to Tepesch for several seconds before giving him a pat on the chest and signaling to the bullpen. Left-hander Robbie Ross kept Tepesch's line intact by getting Matt Joyce on a popout and Zobrist on a grounder with runners at second and third. 

Leonys Martin, born the same year as Tepesch but no longer a rookie because of too much service time last year, had two singles and scored three times for the Rangers.

Martin started the seventh with a single, went to third when Kinsler was thrown out trying to stretch a single and scored when Elvis Andrus hit a slow roller up the third base line. Berkman doubled and was replaced by pinch-runner Craig Gentry, who scored from second on an error by first baseman James Loney to put the Rangers up 6-1.

Tampa Bay scored in the third when Jennings led off with a double that landed near Martin in right-center. Jennings went to third on a grounder by Joyce and scored on another grounder by Zobrist, who went 0 for 4 after he was at the plate for Foster's botched call Monday.

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