ARLINGTON -- The one thing Roy Oswalt tries to do each time he takes the mound is fill up the strike zone.
Hitters put the ball in play quicker, they don't get on base cheaply, and a hot-hitting team can keep momentum on its side by quickly getting off the field and back to the plate.
Nothing changed in Oswalt's philosophy Wednesday night in his first career game against Detroit. He threw strikes, lots of them, and the Tigers made contact, lots of it.
The result individually was an unusual pitching line for the right-hander, but the final result was good enough for the Texas Rangers.
David Murphy went 4 for 5 with two homers and five RBIs, and Oswalt won his second straight start to open his season despite allowing six runs on a career-high 13 hits in a 13-9 victory over Detroit.
The Rangers have won six straight series and have won 10 of their past 12 games to maintain a 4 1/2-game lead over Anaheim in the American League West.
But it was never easy Wednesday for the Rangers, who led 4-0, 7-2 and 11-5 but saw the Tigers bring the go-ahead run to the plate with two-outs in a four-run eighth.
At the end of the day, though, the Rangers had won. That's what mattered most to Oswalt.
"It went pretty well. We won," he said. "I gave up a few more hits than I wanted to. I think sometimes you get in the habit of throwing too many strikes. I gave up some hits I probably shouldn't have given up."
Oswalt pounded the strike zone as he did in his debut Friday, but Detroit found more success than Colorado. He wasn't pleased with the six hits he allowed while ahead in the count either 0-2 or 1-2, something that plagued him last week, but he benefited from three double plays and three key plays by Adrian Beltre at third.
The steady offense the Rangers provided was also a boost as he filled up the strike zone, but perhaps a tad too much as he tried to get quick outs to keep his pitch count down.
"Tonight I think I went a little bit overboard trying to throw too many strikes," said Oswalt, who threw 107 pitches/74 strikes.
But he never surrendered the leads the Rangers gave him, and he credited Murphy for leading the charge.
Murphy entered the game 6 for 16 against Doug Fister, who allowed the first Rangers' run when Miguel Cabrera threw a Nelson Cruz chopper in the third into the camera well next to the Rangers' dugout.
Murphy followed with a three-run homer into the right-field seats for a 4-0 lead, and added a solo shot into the Rangers' bullpen to jump-start a three-run fourth that made it 7-2.
The Rangers added another three-spot in the sixth, with Murphy delivering a single against left-handed Duane Below.
Leonys Martin added a two-run triple two batters later, and Michael Young had an RBI single in the seventh for an 11-5 lead.
"Just one of those nights where everything came together," Murphy said. "Obviously, the most important thing is to win. Just as impressive was the way that we showed the offensive effort from top to bottom. It was very complete."
Detroit wasn't done, though. The Tigers scored four times in the eighth against Martin Perez, who was making his major league debut. An error made three of the runs unearned, but suddenly it was 11-9.
The Tigers then gift-wrapped two runs in the Rangers' half, an inning that started with an Ian Kinsler double on a pop-up that second baseman Ryan Raburn apparently lost in the lights.
Kinsler scored from second on a bunt single by Elvis Andrus that Cabrera nearly threw away, and Beltre doubled two batters later to bring in Andrus.
Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760