ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Austin Jackson hit an inside-the-park home run and a triple, and the Detroit Tigers beat the American League West-leading Texas Rangers 6-2 on Friday night.
Jackson got his first career inside-the-park homer in the seventh inning after right fielder Nelson Cruz made a diving attempt to catch the ball, which bounced in front of him and then over his glove and to the wall. Jackson never slowed and scored easily.
Prince Fielder hit his 20th homer, a three-run shot in the sixth that put the Tigers up 4-2 and chased Scott Feldman (6-7).
Max Scherzer (11-6) struck out eight in six innings for his 10th win in his last 13 decisions since May 10.
Jackson led off the fourth with a triple to right-center. He scored on Miguel Cabrera's single, his 96th RBI that tied him again with Josh Hamilton of the Rangers for most in the majors.
Hamilton got his 96th RBI in the first inning with his 31st homer that tied him with Adam Dunn of the White Sox for the major league lead.
Detroit had two outs in the sixth before Andy Dirks reached on an infield single and Cabrera followed with a single. Fielder then pulled a pitch several rows deep into the stands in right. It is the seventh consecutive 20-homer season for Fielder, who is in the first year of a $214 million, nine-year deal with Detroit.
The Tigers, who lost the ALCS in six games to Texas last October, have won 25 of 38 games since losing two straight on their last trip to Texas in late June.
When Cruz dived for the ball, and it got past him, Jackson was in full stride. Third-base coach Gene Lamont waved Jackson home and he easily beat Ian Kinsler's relay.
It was the 12th homer this season for Jackson, who is from nearby Denton.
After the play, Cruz appeared to reach for his back but stayed in the game. Two batters later, he dropped Cabrera's easy popup for an error that extended the inning.
Cruz didn't take the field in the top of the eighth and the Rangers said he was out because of lower back stiffness.
Feldman had won his previous six decisions after starting the season with six consecutive losses. He struck out two and walked one in 5⅔ innings.
The Rangers said, according to Elias, the right-hander was only the second pitcher in major league history to win six consecutive decisions immediately after starting the season with a losing streak of six or more games. Doyle Alexander started 0-8 for the Yankees and Blue Jays in 1983 before winning his next seven decisions.
Texas led 2-0 in the third when Kinsler had a leadoff double and scored on a single by Elvis Andrus, who was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double.
Adrian Beltre was hit by a pitch in the upper left leg with two outs in the third, then picked the ball up and tossed it back to Scherzer. Cruz and Michael Young followed with singles to load the bases but David Murphy's flyout ended the inning.
Scherzer was never again in serious trouble. He struck out the last three batters of the sixth before coming out after 112 pitches.
RANGERS/BULLPEN: Mark Lowe is back in the Texas Rangers bullpen, and the AL West leaders are keeping an extra reliever for now.
Lowe was activated from the 15-day disabled list Friday before the opener against Detroit.
Instead of sending down another pitcher, the Rangers designated backup infielder Alberto Gonzalez for assignment.
"We're going through a stretch with the Tigers and the Yankees, really good hitting teams," manager Ron Washington said of having 13 pitchers with eight relievers. "We've got make sure we've got enough pitching. There it is."
Lowe had been out since June 26 because of a strained muscle in his right side. His last appearance was three scoreless innings in relief against the Tigers on June 25, the opener of the last series Detroit played in Texas.