Texas Rangers starter Justin Grimm (51) delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros in the third inning Sunday in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo)
ARLINGTON, Texas — Texas’ bullpen bailed out rookie Justin Grimm on Sunday.
Right-handers Joakim Soria and Cory Burns were among a quintet of relievers that threw five shutout innings in the Rangers’ 5-4 win over the Houston Astros.
A.J. Pierzynski hit a three-run homer and Nelson Cruz hit a go-ahead single for Texas.
“This bullpen deserves all the credit today,” Pierzynski said.
Each reliever pitched a scoreless inning apiece, starting with Burns when he escaped a jam with runners on first and third and no outs in the fifth.
Soria came out for the sixth, followed by right-hander Jason Frasor and left-hander Neal Cotts, who got pinch-hitter Chris Carter on a called third strike with the tying run at third in the eighth. Closer Joe Nathan pitched a perfect ninth for his 29th save in 30 chances.
It was Soria’s first big league appearance since Sept. 11, 2011, when the two-time All-Star with 160 career saves was the closer for the Kansas City Royals before getting shut down by elbow reconstruction surgery.
Pierzynski gave the Rangers a 3-0 lead in the first with his eighth homer, a shot into the Texas bullpen in right field after consecutive walks to Elvis Andrus and Cruz by Erik Bedard (3-5).
Marc Krauss answered with his first career homer in the second, a two-run shot off Grimm.
Cruz’s single scored Ian Kinsler for a 5-4 lead after Houston had pulled even in the fifth against Grimm, who gave up four runs (three earned) on six hits. He walked two and struck out two.
Grimm, who didn’t get an out in the fifth, was replaced after a walk to No. 9 hitter Jake Elmore, and Burns retired Jose Altuve on a pop out. Burns escaped the inning when Brett Wallace struck out and Elmore was tagged out by shortstop Andrus on a steal attempt after sliding past the bag at second.
Burns was called up from Triple-A Round Rock and made the 2½-hour drive to the Dallas area Sunday morning.