Houston, TX – Jeff Baker hit the go-ahead home run in the seventh inning as the Texas Rangers used a trio of long balls to get past the Houston Astros, 4-2, in the opener of a three-game set from Minute Maid Park.
Nelson Cruz tied the score at 2-2 with a solo shot in the sixth inning before Baker led off with a homer one inning later to win it for Texas, which improved to 3-1 against the Astros this season. David Murphy also went deep in the triumph.
"They were both bombs," Rangers manager Ron Washington said of the homers. "The one David Murphy hit was a bomb. As long as they go over the fence, they call them bombs."
Robbie Ross (1-0) tossed 1 1/3 innings of relief, and Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 10th save in as many tries.
Wesley Wright (0-1), who was at the center of Thursday's controversy after entering the game but not facing a batter before being lifted for another reliever, served up Baker's decisive blast.
Trevor Crowe put Houston on the board in the second inning with his first home run of the season and fourth of his career.
Texas got the run back in the top of the third. Geovany Soto walked with one out and Craig Gentry and Ian Kinsler followed with singles, loading the bases for Elvis Andrus. Dallas Keuchel, who allowed two runs over six innings in his first start of 2013, walked Andrus on four pitches to force in a run, but retired Lance Berkman and Adrian Beltre to avoid a big inning.
"Dallas was tremendous," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "He did a great job attacking the zone, sinking the ball away and was able to pitch to both sides of the plate and get a lot of ground balls and kept us right there for six innings."
Jose Altuve doubled in the bottom of the stanza, advanced to third on Jason Castro's groundout and scored on an Alexi Ogando wild pitch.
After Cruz and Baker put Texas ahead, Murphy provided the visitors with an insurance run in the top of the ninth when he lifted a Travis Blackley offering just over the fence in right field.
The Astros fell to 2-6 on their season-long 10 game homestand ... Houston hit 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left seven men on ... Ogando yielded two runs on five hits and four walks over 5 2/3 innings.