Tepesch hopes to get on track versus Reds

Struggling right-hander Nick Tepesch tries to keep the Texas Rangers in the win column on Saturday when they continue a three-game interleague set with the Cincinnati Reds at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

Tepesch has lost his last three decisions and hasn't won since May 12, but pitched well his last time out in St. Louis. Tepesch gave up just one run and four hits in 5 2/3 innings of that one, but did not get a decision in his team's 2-1 win.

"He did a tremendous job, especially going up against Wainwright and matching his zeros," Rangers manager Ron Washington said after the game. "He had good focus to do a great job against that type of pitcher."

Tepesch, who is 3-6 with a 4.60 ERA, has never faced the Reds, who will counter with righty Mike Leake.

Leake also did not get a decision last Saturday in Arizona, but like Tepesch, was good enough to win, as he allowed two runs and four hits in eight innings of a 4-3 loss. He is 7-3 on the year with a 2.61 ERA.

"He did great," Reds teammate Jay Bruce said of Leake's most recent start. "He pitched a great game. ... I think Leake has arguably been our best pitcher and the most consistent pitcher all year."

Texas won for the eighth time in nine tries in Friday's opener, as Martin Perez sparkled in his third start of the season by tossing shutout ball into the seventh inning, and the Rangers rolled to a 4-0 win.

Perez (2-1) allowed six hits and walked a batter over his 6 2/3 innings. The 22-year-old left-hander also had three strikeouts to help the Rangers to their second straight shutout.

"He was pounding the strike zone and not getting caught in any patterns," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He had good mound presence."

Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (4-2) left with tightness in his right lat in the second inning. His replacement, Tony Cingrani, pitched four innings, but walked six batters, including three in a row during the second inning when the Rangers expanded their lead to 3-0.

Cincinnati, which went 0-for-10 with men in scoring position, lost for the sixth time in seven games. The Reds have been blanked in their last two games and haven't scored in 22 innings.

"We're not doing anything. It seems like we're not putting any ABs together. We get a hit, then we make an easy out," Reds shortstop Zack Cozart said. "They say hitting's contagious when you're going well, but it's not contagious, too, when everybody's not hitting."

Texas and Cincinnati haven't met since 2007, when the Rangers took two of three encounters in Ohio. The Reds lost a three-game series in the Lone Star State back in 2002.