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MIN@TEX: Beltre opens scoring with a two-run home run

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers' long losing streak is over.

It wasn't easy, even after a dominating performance by starter Nick Tepesch. The ninth inning almost turned into a collapse of epic proportions.

But Joakim Soria was able to get the final two outs in the ninth with the tying run standing on third base and the Rangers were able to hold on to a 5-4 victory on Friday night, snapping their eight-game losing streak.

The Rangers led 5-0 going into the ninth after 7 1/3 scoreless innings from Tepesch and were three outs away from a league-leading 14th shutout on the season. Soria, pitching only for the second time in nearly two weeks, allowed four runs before finally closing it out.

"It got scary at the end but a win is still a win," catcher Chris Gimenez said. "That was a big one for our morale. We needed it."

Soria had allowed just three runs in his previous 21 2/3 innings going back to April 11 before running into trouble in the ninth.

"The command of my fastball just wasn't where I wanted it today and they were hitting my pitches," Soria said. "That's basically what happened. My command wasn't where it needed to be or where I wanted it and they scored some runs as a result. But we won and that's the most important thing. We broke the losing streak and that's what we were hoping to do."

Manager Ron Washington said he still felt confident with Soria on the mound even after a one-out triple by rookie infielder Jorge Polanco drove home two runs and put the tying run at third. Soria struck out Brian Dozier and retired Kurt Suzuki on a grounder to third to end the game.

"My thought was I've got my closer in the game,' Washington said. "I have to sit there and let him get out of it and they usually do. No one said it was going to be easy and it doesn't matter how good you are. You're facing Major League hitters and they fight for their at-bats … but in the end he got the third out and that's all we needed."

Up until the ninth, the night belonged to Tepesch. He had his sinker going as well as his offspeed pitches. Tepesch, in throwing 106 pitches, allowed three hits and two walks with five strikeouts in raising his record to 3-3 with a 3.65 ERA.

"I was just able to command all four of my pitches and just commanding them in the zone and out of the zone and where I needed to command them," Tepesch said.

This was the longest outing by a Rangers starter since Yu Darvish's shutout against the Marlins on June 11. Tepesch is 3-0 with a 1.31 ERA in his career against the Twins.

"He moves the ball around pretty good," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "It doesn't look like he's throwing real hard ... he cuts it. He can two-seam it, run it back in you, he's got a nice little breaking ball, a little changeup. He threw his changeup just about any time, so he's got a good mix. "

Tepesch only had one inning with multiple baserunners. He retired Kurt Suzuki on a grounder to lead off the fourth, then gave up a single to Joe Mauer and hit Josh Willingham. Kendrys Morales lined out to center and Oswaldo Arcia walked to load the bases. That brought up Eduardo Escobar. Tepesch got ahead 0-2 with two breaking balls, got Escobar to foul off a fastball and then caught him looking with a backdoor curve.

"He was outstanding," Washington said. "We needed a well-pitched game and he gave it to us. He was able to spot his fastball. He was able to throw his breaking ball. He was able to keep the ball down. He did exactly what we needed him to do and he deserves a lot of credit for tonight."

Some early run support also helped. Shin-Soo Choo, who had a three-hit night, celebrated his return to the leadoff spot with a single to start the first inning. Twins starter Kevin Correia retired the next two hitters before Adrian Beltre, who entered the game hitting .381 for the month of June, hit one into the visitors' bullpen for a two-run home run.

"It's always good to get some early runs and give your starting pitcher some breathing room to work with," Beltre said. "After that, Tepesch was tremendous. Seven-plus innings, solid, that was exactly what we needed."

The Rangers added two more in the fifth as Giminez drew a one-out walk and scored on a double by Luis Sardinas. After Rougned Odor popped out, Choo doubled off the left-field wall to bring home Sardinas. Texas took a 5-0 lead in the bottom of the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Beltre. That proved to be the winning run.

"That's why you never give away an at-bat," Beltre said. "You never know when it will be important. Fortunately we held on for the win and we have Yu Darvish pitching tomorrow so hopefully this will be the start of a big streak for us." Comments