DETROIT (AP) — The Texas Rangers are the hottest team in baseball.
That hasn’t done much for them in the standings because they’re in the same division as Houston, the best team in the majors so far this season.
Mike Napoli and Joey Gallo hit homers, giving Texas enough offense to help it hold on for a 5-3 win over the Detroit Tigers on Friday night and a 10th straight victory.
“We don’t talk about a streak or anything,” Napoli said.
Even though the second-place Rangers have baseball’s longest winning streak since Boston won 11 straight late last year, they have made up just two games on the AL West-leading Astros, who have a 6 1/2 game cushion. Texas manager Jeff Banister insisted he doesn’t pay much attention to the standings because it is too early in the season.
“It’s still May, right?” he asked.
Nick Martinez (1-2) gave up one unearned run and four hits over five innings, ending an 11-start winless streak that dated to Aug. 5, 2015. Matt Bush earned his fifth save in six chances, but it didn’t come easy. He struck out Alex Avila with runners on the corners and two outs after shortstop Elvis Andrus’ throwing error allowed the Tigers to pull within two runs.
Daniel Norris (2-3) allowed five runs and seven hits while striking out eight over 5 2-3 innings. He has won only one of his last six starts.
Detroit, without Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez, struggled at the plate with only one run in the fourth, sixth and ninth innings. Martinez missed his first game on the paternity list and Cabrera sat out a third straight game with an oblique strain.
Texas has its longest winning streak since an 11-game run in 2010 and is four wins away from matching a franchise record set in 1991.
PAYING THE PRICE
Norris had a rough night and Texas took advantage. He hit Shin-Soo Choo to load the bases in the third and walked Andrus to force a run home in the two-run inning.
Norris fell behind Napoli in the fourth and he sent a 2-0 pitch over the wall in left field for his ninth home run.
“It’s taken him a little while to get going,” Banister said. “We feel confident that he’s a guy that’s in a good place now.”
Norris also threw two balls without a strike against Gallo before he sent a line drive deep into the seats in right field for a two-run shot that put the Rangers up 5-2 in the sixth inning.
“We were going away, but (Gallo) covers the plate so well and he crushed it,” Norris said.
Tigers: Cabrera, who said he is feeling better, said before the series opener that he may play this weekend. After the game, Ausmus said he would be “shocked,” if Cabrera didn’t play on Saturday.
Francisco Rodriguez and Anibal Sanchez, who are part of Detroit’s much-maligned bullpen, combined to pitch 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
“That was a really encouraging sign,” Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. “Obviously, they’ve taken some heat early in the season.”
Cabrera unveiled a new business venture, Miggy Foods. The first product is Bitbits, a small ball-shaped candy that comes in a variety of flavors, including strawberry cheesecake. A candy bar is expected to hit the market within the next six months.
The Tigers sent RHP Buck Farmer to Triple-A Toledo and called up C/1B John Hicks.
Rangers: RHP A.J. Griffin (4-0) starts, aiming for his fifth win in six starts.
Tigers: RHP Justin Verlander (3-3) will be on the mound, trying to avoid losing consecutive outings for the second time this season.
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