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NEW YORK – Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington thought Nick Tepesch had a pretty good start — well, except for five batters in the first inning.
Tepesch gave up a three-run homer to Anthony Recker during a five-run burst with two outs in the first, but he lasted six innings for the Rangers in an 8-4 loss to the New York Mets on Sunday.
"It took him six hitters to get the one out we needed," Washington said. "But he hung in there."
Lucas Duda had an RBI double and Juan Lagares a run-scoring single in the Mets' biggest opening inning of the season. New York then got only one hit off Tepesch (3-4) until Kirk Nieuwenhuis led off the sixth with a long ball to right field.
Holding the Mets gave the Rangers a chance to get back in the game against Zack Wheeler (4-8).
Robinson Chirinos hit his second homer of the series, a solo shot in the fourth, and Texas added three more to pull to 7-4 within the first three batters of the eighth.
Alex Rios hit his first homer in 46 games leading off, Adrian Beltre singled and Leonys Martin had a two-run drive before the first out against reliever Gonzalez Germen.
Jeurys Familia cleaned up for Gonzalez by getting the final two outs in the eighth and closer Jenrry Mejia pitched the ninth.
The Mets needed five relievers to help send Texas to its sixth loss on a seven-game road trip that ended Sunday.
"It's nice that they started to swing and able to get the ball in the air and start finding the fences," Washington said. "Now, we've got to start doing it with runners in scoring position so we can put up some crooked numbers."
Wheeler had his second straight solid outing in an up-and-down season to help the Mets win for just the third time in 11 games. The lanky right-hander lasted 6 1-3 innings and gave up a run and six hits.
It was Wheeler's first victory in his last 10 home starts. He is 1-6 over that span.
"We've got a young pitcher on our hands who's going to be really, really good," Mets manager Terry Collins said. "Zack gets better each start. Today his velocity was consistent throughout the game."
A day after Texas rode Chirinos' three-run shot in a four-run first for a 5-3 victory, Recker put New York up 5-0 with a flyball that down the left-field line.
"To put up five in the first inning is pretty cool," Recker said.
Tepesch, whose start was pushed back twice last week and pitched nine days ago, was hurt by two walks in the first.
Curtis Granderson walked leading off and, after Duda drove in his 12th run 15 games with a two-out double, Nieuwenhuis was walked to extend the inning for Lagares. Ruben Tejada walked after Recker's homer. Wheeler then struck out.
But Tepesch settled until Tejada had a one-out double in the fourth. In six innings, Tepesch allowed six runs and five hits. He walked four and struck out four.
"Just tried to get back to just commanding it down in the zone and making good pitches down in the zone," Tepesch said of rebounding from the first.
The 25-year-old Tepesch got his first big league hit in his fifth career at-bat, sending a bouncer past diving shortstop Tejada leading off the fifth. Tejada robbed Tepesch of a hit in the third inning with a diving catch.
Tejada had an RBI single in the eighth to give New York a four-run lead.
NOTES: Texas starting pitchers have hits in each of the three games. ... LHP Joe Saunders has cleared waivers and is now a free agent. The Rangers designated him for assignment Tuesday after he went winless in eight starts. He is 0-5 with a 6.13 ERA. ... The Mets placed LHP Jonathon Niese on the DL with shoulder fatigue. RHP Dillon Gee (right lat strain), on the DL since May 11, threw a bullpen Sunday and could take Niese's spot in the rotation Wednesday. ... Up next: The Mets host NL East-leading Atlanta Braves for four games. The Rangers return to Texas for a three-game set with Houston. The Rangers have lost 15 of 23 at home.