Yu Darvish turned in his best outing in more than three weeks, the offense strung together clutch hits and the Texas Rangers went on to a 6-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Friday night at Rangers Ballpark.
With the victory, Texas has won four of its past five and will maintain at least a three-game lead over the Angels in the American League West.
Darvish allowed two runs on seven hits with two walks and 11 strikeouts over eight innings. The 11 strikeouts matched Darvish's career high, as he had 11 on May 6 at Cleveland, and the eight innings was his second longest start of the season.
Joe Nathan worked the ninth in a non-save situation.
Trailing 1-0 going into the fifth, the Josh Hamilton-less Rangers offense broke loose. Ian Kinsler reached on a one-out error, Elvis Andrus was hit by a pitch and Michael Young delivered an RBI single to center. Adrian Beltre followed with an RBI single, Nelson Cruz blooped a single to center to load the bases and David Murphy came through with a two-run single. Yorvit Torrealba capped off the five-run inning with an RBI single to right.
Houston pulled to within 5-2 on a solo homer by Justin Maxwell in the seventh, but that was as close as it'd come.
Mitch Moreland belted a solo shot in the eighth, his 10th home run of the season.
-- Drew Davison