After another impressive offensive display in the series opener, host Texas seeks an eighth victory in nine tries Friday night against Detroit.
The Rangers have been on a tear of late, scoring at least six runs in five of their last six games and outscoring opponents 51-33 over their last eight. Eight different players scored one run as they roughed up Justin Verlander for eight runs in 2 2-3 innings of Thursday's 10-4 victory.
Moreland was hitting .157 on April 20, but he's hit .374 with seven homers among his 18 extra-base hits over his last 24 games to boost his average to .296. He's 7 for 15 (.467) during a four-game hitting streak versus Detroit.
The Rangers, who will be going for a season-best fifth straight home win Friday, have scored at least seven runs six times while winning eight of the last 11 meetings with Detroit.
While Texas (27-14) has the best record in the majors, the Tigers (22-17) have had their share of problems lately, losing six of nine.
Detroit has dropped three straight on the road and Prince Fielder is 2 for 17 (.118) with five strikeouts during a five-game slump. Miguel Cabrera is 2 for 9 over his last two, but he's still second in the majors with a .366 average.
Cabrera is hitting .371 with 12 homers and 24 doubles in his career versus the Rangers, including the Tigers' six-game loss in the 2011 AL championship series."We really grinded out our at-bats (Thursday) and (the Rangers) did, too," manager Jim Leyland said. "That's one thing (that) club does and that's one thing we do, too."
Detroit will be looking to get back on track with help from Rick Porcello , who has pitched much better of late.
Since giving up nine runs in two-thirds of an inning of a 10-0 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on April 20, Porcello (1-2, 6.68 ERA) is 1-0 with a 3.72 ERA over his last three starts. He allowed two runs in six innings of Detroit's 4-3, 10-inning loss to Cleveland on Sunday.
The right-hander has had a rough time against Texas, though, going 2-3 with a 7.83 ERA in five career regular-season starts.
The Rangers will counter with Nick Tepesch as he makes his first career start versus the Tigers.
Tepesch (3-3, 4.03) had an impressive outing Sunday, allowing one run and striking out a season-best eight in six innings of a 12-7 win over Houston. The rookie had allowed 11 runs and 14 hits in 10 2-3 innings while dropping his previous two starts.
"It's something to build off and take into the next start, keep that same focus," Tepesch said.
Manager Ron Washington praised his right-hander for bouncing back from the rough outings.
"Tepesch did a good job," he said. "He had a good sinker working, and his breaking ball had bite. Hopefully he got back on track."
The Rangers have an AL-best 3.45 ERA.
|May 12, 2013||Austin Jackson||15-Day DL||Strained right hamstring|
|April 26, 2013||Phil Coke||15-Day DL||Left groin strain|
|April 26, 2013||Phil Coke||15-Day DL||Left groin strain|
|April 21, 2013||Octavio Dotel||Day-to-Day||Elbow inflammation|
|April 20, 2013||Octavio Dotel||15-Day DL||Right elbow inflammation|
|April 09, 2013||Victor Martinez||Day-to-Day||Lacerated right thumb|
|May 16, 2013||Alexi Ogando||15-Day DL||Right biceps tendinitis|
|May 06, 2013||A.J. Pierzynski||15-Day DL||Strained right oblique|
|April 20, 2013||Nick Tepesch||Day-to-Day||Left game - right arm bruise|
|April 11, 2013||Justin Miller||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|April 07, 2013||Matt Harrison||15-Day DL||Inflamed nerve in lower back|
|April 07, 2013||Yu Darvish||Day-to-Day||Left game - blister|
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -- With a little help from slugger Miguel Cabrera , Rick Porcello and the Detroit Tigers slowed down the Texas Rangers .
Cabrera went 3 for 4 with a go-ahead double in the fifth inning to back Porcello and lift the Tigers over the Rangers 2-1 Friday night in a matchup of division leaders.
Texas had scored 51 runs in its past eight games, going 7-1 in that stretch. Porcello and four relievers, however, cooled off a Rangers offense that knocked out ace Justin Verlander in the third inning Thursday night.
Cabrera broke a scoreless tie with an RBI double off the wall in left that scored Andy Dirks . Cabrera scored later in the fifth to provide the Tigers with just enough offense to give manager Jim Leyland his 1,699th career victory.
"We had some opportunities and we were able to score just enough runs to beat them today," Detroit catcher Alex Avila said. "And on the flip side, our guys were able to keep it at a minimum when they had opportunities. We were able to get out of big jams."
Porcello (2-2) allowed one run and five hits in 5 2-3 innings with six strikeouts and a walk as the Tigers rebounded from a 10-4 loss Thursday night.
The 24-year-old Porcello is 2-0 with a 3.24 ERA in four starts since giving up nine runs in two-thirds of an inning April 20 against the Los Angeles Angels .
Detroit remained tied with the Cleveland Indians atop the AL Central.
"I think I'm in a little bit of a groove for sure," Porcello said. "I'm getting better results now, so it's nice."
Joaquin Benoit escaped a first-and-third jam with one out in the eighth when he induced Nelson Cruz 's double-play grounder. Cruz also bounced into a double play in the fourth when the Rangers had runners on first and second with nobody out.
The Rangers, owners of the best record in the AL, went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
"You want to be up in those situations," Cruz said. "I just hope to get another chance so I come through."
Jose Valverde got three groundouts around a one-out walk to Geovany Soto in the ninth, getting his fourth save in five chances this season.
"You don't expect a 2-1 ballgame in this ballpark too many times," Leyland said. "It's a lightning rod and you can hit it out of here at any time."
Soto homered for a second straight game, a solo shot off Porcello in the fifth that brought the Rangers within 2-1.
Rookie Nick Tepesch (3-4) gave up two runs, six hits and three walks in five innings as Detroit stopped the Rangers' three-game winning streak.
"Detroit has a pretty good lineup," Tepesch said. "I just have to take the positives from this start and be ready for the next one."
Dirks led off the fifth with a bloop single to center and advanced to second on a groundout.
Cabrera, hitting .509 (27 for 53) with runners in scoring position, lined an 0-1 pitch off the wall in left field near the out of town scoreboard for his AL-leading 42nd RBI. Cabrera scored on Avila's sacrifice fly.
Cabrera nearly put Detroit ahead in the third when he singled to center with Dirks on second base. Leonys Martin made a perfect throw to Soto at the plate for the out.
NOTES: Texas RHP Alexi Ogando , placed on the DL Thursday with right biceps tendinitis, underwent an MRI that showed no structural damage. ... Texas 2B Ian Kinsler did not start because of bruised ribs after he was hit by a Verlander pitch Thursday night. Kinsler entered in the ninth as pinch runner. ... Detroit's Torii Hunter is two home runs shy of 300 in his career. ... Rangers RHP Justin Miller (right elbow surgery) was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Friday night at Double-A Frisco.