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Murphy homers twice, drives in five

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers are in a June offensive slump?

Maybe when they played 13 games in pitcher and weather-friendly parks on the West Coast. At home, they can still outslug the opposition, especially on a night when Roy Oswalt gave up a career-high 13 hits in his 327th Major League start.

The Rangers did that on Wednesday night against former nemesis Doug Fister, slugging and running their way to a 13-9 victory over the Tigers at Rangers Ballpark. David Murphy led the charge with four hits, including two home runs off Fister, and five RBIs.

"Just one of those nights when everything comes together," Murphy said. "It was impressive the way we put together a total team effort from top to bottom, and the perseverance we showed. We just kept putting up runs."

The Rangers ended up taking two out of three from the Tigers and have won their last six three-game series. They have won 14 of 18 in that stretch and remain 4 1/2 games ahead of the Angels in the American League West.

The Rangers are also 16-9 in June, including a 9-3 mark at home, where the Rangers are hitting .304 with a .496 slugging percentage and averaging 6.1 runs per game this month. In 13 West Coast road games this month, the Rangers hit .248 with a .371 slugging percentage and averaged 3.4 runs per game. They went 7-6 in those games.

"We expect to score runs," second baseman Ian Kinsler said. "It seems like we do every night whatever we need to do to win a game. Offensively, we feel like we should be producing runs every night. It's getting more consistent, as far as putting pressure on teams. I think we were always doing that before, but we weren't able to push guys across the plate. Now we're pushing guys across the plate."

Kinsler's ninth home run of the year in the fourth inning off Fister was one of 16 hits for the Rangers on the night. But just as big was Kinsler being able to score from second on Elvis Andrus' bunt single in the eighth inning. Andrus later scored on a double by Adrian Beltre. That gave the Rangers a four-run lead and Joe Nathan was able to close it out in the ninth.

"This is a team that, they don't give you much margin for error," Tigers manager Jim Leyland said. "You make a mistake against them, and they normally capitalize on it. That's one of the reasons they're the defending champions. We hung in there. We battled our tails off. We just played a bad ballgame, and it's usually dictated by pitching.

"The only frustrating thing about a game like this is when you score that many runs, you're supposed to win. That's just the way it is. Of course, they'd be saying the same thing had they not won. It was just an ugly game. Pretty simple."

The breakout offensive night allowed Oswalt to earn another win in his second start for the Rangers, despite allowing 15 of 30 batters to reach base. Oswalt allowed a career-high 13 hits and two walks while striking out six. He threw 107 pitches. He was helped out by three double plays turned behind him and was able to limit the Tigers to 3-for-11 with runners in scoring position through six innings.

"He had to battle," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "He was facing a pretty good team that was swinging the bats. The one thing he did was he threw strikes and make them swing the bats. In my opinion it was a good game because he left the game and kept the lead. He just had to battle."

Oswalt left with a 11-5 lead because the Rangers battered Fister for nine runs in 4 1/3 innings.

"They've got a great lineup, top to bottom, and great reserves on the bench," Fister said. "You respect that and there's never a light moment in any inning, no matter from the first pitch to the last. You've got to really make the adjustments on the fly and I just didn't do that."

The Tigers did handle Josh Hamilton. He was 0-for-4 with four strikeouts. But the Rangers were still able to score their most runs since their 14-3 victory over the Blue Jays on May 25 in Arlington.

"We're not seeing what we're capable of doing, but we're getting there," Washington said. "We're grinding it and tonight we got enough runs. That's what they've been doing all year. We're doing what we have to do to win ballgames, and that's what we did tonight."

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