Rangers win, finally

5-18-07 -- Nelson Cruz and Ramon Vazquez hit back-to-back homers and Robinson Tejeda shut out the Houston Astros for five innings to lead the Texas Rangers to a 7-4 victory on Friday night.

Sammy Sosa added a two-run double and Kenny Lofton went 2-for-4 with an RBI, a stolen base and two runs scored for the Rangers, who snapped a four-game losing streak.

Brad Ausmus and Mike Lamb had RBIs for the Astros, who've lost two in a row after having their four-game winning streak snapped in a 2-1 loss to San Francisco on Thursday night.

Tejeda (4-3) held the Astros hitless through five innings, baffling them almost as much as Tim Lincecum did the previous night. The first three Astros reached in the sixth and Tejeda left after striking out six with four walks and a hit batter.

Houston scored four runs off the Rangers' bullpen, but Eric Gagne pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his second save in two tries.

The Rangers put a runner in scoring position in each of the first three innings off Astros starter Matt Albers (1-3). The Rangers finally scored in the third when Lofton singled, Michael Young walked and Sosa drove a double down the left-field line.

Cruz followed with an opposite-field homer, his second of the season. Vazquez, called up from Triple-A Oklahoma on May 17, then homered to the same section of the right-field seats to make it 5-0.

The Rangers hit back-to-back homers for the second time this season. Mark Teixeira and Sosa did it at Toronto on April 27.

Albers finished the inning, but he was done for the night. Dave Borkowski relieved Albers in the fourth and Lofton hit a one-out drive to deep center that rookie Hunter Pence dropped as he climbed Tal's Hill.

Lofton reached third after Pence's second error of the season and Young singled to score Lofton and put Texas up 6-0. Lofton added his RBI single in the sixth for a 7-0 lead.

Craig Biggio ended Tejeda's no-hit bid -- and an 0-for-16 slump -- with a single to center leading off the sixth. Lamb walked and Lance Berkman singled to load the bases for Carlos Lee, who entered with five hits in eight at-bats this season with the bases loaded.

Texas manager Ron Washington replaced Tejeda with side-arming Scott Feldman and Lee hit the first pitch straight back to the mound. Feldman threw home to force out Biggio and catcher Chris Stewart fired to first to complete the double play.

With a full count on Luke Scott, Feldman was called for a balk and Lamb scored to make it 7-1. Scott struck out swinging on the next pitch to end the inning.

Pence extended his hitting streak to six games with a leadoff double in the seventh and scored on Ausmus' one-out single. Pinch hitter Mark Loretta lined out to Vazquez at third and with Ausmus running with the pitch, Vazquez threw to Teixeira at first for the easy double play.

Texas reliever Frank Francisco started the eighth and Biggio led off with a double off the left-field wall, his 2,968th career hit. Lamb then doubled to left-center to cut the Astros' deficit to 7-3. Lamb scored on Lee's groundout.


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