Arlington, TX – Roy Oswalt appeared refreshed and the cranky back looked fine.
Making his Rangers' debut and first start in almost nine months, the 34-year- old fired 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball, lifting Texas to its seventh straight win with a 4-1 triumph over the sputtering Colorado Rockies in the opener of a three-game interleague series.
In his 110-pitch outing, Oswalt (1-0) fanned six and surrendered a run on nine hits and a walk. He was chased from the contest following Marco Scutaro's RBI double in the seventh.
Oswalt left to a standing ovation.
"I think command of all my pitches was there tonight," said Oswalt. "If I can keep this type of command all the way through I'll be happy."
The Mississippi native signed a minor league contract with Texas on May 29 and went 1-1 with a 5.87 earned run average in four starts between Triple-A Round Rock and Double-A Frisco.
Oswalt pitched to a 9-10 record with a 3.69 ERA in 23 starts last season for the Philadelphia Phillies. He spent time on the disabled list on two occasions -- April 27-May 15 and June 24-August 6 -- for inflammation in his lower back.
Friday was Oswalt's first MLB appearance since allowing five runs over six innings in a loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 4 of last year's National League Division Series.
Adrian Beltre smacked a two-run homer, while Mike Napoli added a solo shot for the Rangers, who moved to an MLB-best 13-3 in interleague play. Joe Nathan registered his 16th save of the season with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Christian Friedrich (4-4) was charged with four runs on seven hits and a walk in six innings for Colorado, which has dropped 13 of its last 15 tilts.
The Rangers pushed across a pair of runs in each of the first and fourth innings to jump out to a 4-0 lead.
Beltre belted a opposite-field two-run blast in the opening frame that just crept over the wall in right, giving the hosts a 2-0 advantage.
In the fourth, Beltre reached on an infield single and scored when Nelson Cruz ripped a double into left-center. Cruz, though, got caught in a rundown between second and third on the play and was tagged out. Napoli stepped up next and cracked an opposite-field solo shot for a 4-0 Rangers margin.
The Rockies plated a two-out run to get on the board in the seventh. Dexter Fowler tripled and scored when Scutaro laced a double into the gap in right- center.
"We are staying optimistic, we are staying together and we're still playing hard," said Rockies outfielder Michael Cuddyer.
Prior to the game, Texas placed first baseman Mitch Moreland on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring strain and also designated pitcher Mark Hamburger for assignment...Oswalt improved to 9-2 in 13 career starts against Colorado...Texas has outscored opponents 58-27 over its last 11 games, going 10-1 in the process.