Hunter turns 23, beats Rays for 1st Major League win

ARLINGTON, Texas(AP) Tommy Hunter earned his first career victory on his 23rd birthday, Hank Blalock homered and the Texas Rangers won their third in a row, beating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 Friday night.

Hunter (1-1) was making his sixth career start and third this season. The right-hander allowed three hits and struck out five in 5 1-3 innings to help slow down baseball's top-scoring offense.

Jason Jennings , C.J. Wilson and Frank Francisco pitched 3 2-3 innings of scoreless relief to complete the three-hitter, which equals the fewest hits Tampa Bay has had this season. Francisco pitched a perfect ninth for his 13th save.

Blalock, who hit a two-run homer in the ninth to beat the Los Angeles Angels on Wednesday night, had a two-run shot in the fourth.

B.J. Upton had an RBI single in the fifth, and the Rays were threatening to score more with runners on second and third in the inning.

Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler saved at least one run, and probably two, when he made a diving catch to his left on Carl Crawford 's liner to end the fifth.

Scott Kazmir (4-5) made his second start for Tampa Bay, which has won eight of 11, since coming off the disabled list June 27. The left-hander gave up three runs - one earned - and struck out six in five innings.

In the bottom of the fourth, Andruw Jones reached on a throwing error from Tampa Bay shortstop Jason Bartlett .

Blalock was 0 for 7 lifetime with three strikeouts against Kazmir before he drove a 2-2 pitch into the seats in right to put the Rangers up 2-0.

Texas scored its second unearned run in the fifth.

Kinsler reached on a fielder's choice and took second when Ben Zobrist made a wild throw on a double-play attempt.

Marlon Byrd brought Kinsler home with an RBI double that made it 3-1.


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