- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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HOUSTON -- Well the Silver Boot or the Lone Star series, whatever you want to call it, continued on Tuesday night. The Rangers, as expected, took care of things with a 7-3 victory over the Astros to end a two-game losing streak.
Maybe getting away from steamy and windy Rangers Ballpark in Arlington was exactly what the Rangers needed. Staff ace C.J. Wilson pitched seven strong innings and got his first career triple, Josh Hamilton homered and made a terrific diving catch in right center and leadoff man Ian Kinsler reached base four times and drove in three runs.
The Astros (28-52) have the worse record in baseball and played like it most of the night. After the Rangers (42-38) made the third out in the top of the eighth inning, some of the crowd, announced at 29,132, began to leave.
That kind of night for the Astros.
C.J. Wilson pitches well: Wilson moved to 8-3 on the season by throwing 104 pitches in an excellent performance. Wilson allowed two runs on seven hits. He walked two and struck out three. Wilson picked up two firsts: first career win at Minute Maid Park and first career victory against Houston. Wilson got into major trouble twice Tuesday night.
In the fifth, leading 3-1, Wilson allowed a leadoff double to Clint Barmes. Barmes was held up at third as Carlos Corporan singled to right. It set up pitcher Jordan Lyles, who was asked to bunt and failed to move anybody over as he struck out while fouling off a bunt for the third strike. Still, the Astros had a chance with the top of the order next. Jason Bourgeois hit into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning. Wilson found some more trouble in the sixth after he gave up a run on sac fly from Carlos Lee. With a man on and one out, Jeff Keppinger bounced into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. Replays showed Keppinger beat Ian Kinsler's throw to first, but first base umpire Bob Davidson called him out and after arguing a little, Astros manager Brad Mills was tossed.
Josh Hamilton dives and hits:After sitting out Sunday afternoon with his well-documented daytime struggles, Josh Hamilton returned to the lineup and had two hits and a wonderful play in right-center field. Hamilton tied the score at 1-1 with a homer to left center in the third, his eighth of the season. Later, it was Hamilton making a diving play in the seventh inning on a long drive by Barmes. Hamilton, playing center field, ran to his left and made a diving catch on the warning track, landing on his left hip. In the fifth inning, Hamilton came up short on a dive for a hit in left center. Hamilton didn't stretch out enough with his right arm -- the same arm that cost him to miss nearly two months of the season. Hamilton broke a bone in his shoulder while diving head first into home plate back in April. There has always been concern about Hamilton injuring himself because of how hard he plays. Ron Washington has said you can't protect players on the field because they're going hard on almost every play, especially his players.
News and notes:Wilson tripled to dead center field in the third inning for the first time in his career. It was the first triple by a Rangers pitcher since Kenny Rogers did the deed on June 11, 2005 at the Florida Marlins. After Wilson got to the bag at third, he did the claw and antlers hand sign. Some of the Rangers fans cheered, but they were drowned out when the Astros fans started to boo. ... Michael Young's third inning single extended his hitting streak to 13 games. ... Despite making the catches, right fielder Mitch Moreland appeared to have problems catching two fly balls. ... The Rangers are 35-15 when Wilson pitches. ... In the four games played between the teams this season, the Rangers have outscored the Astros, 23-14.