Rapid Reaction: Rangers 9, Astros 5
August, 9, 2013
By Todd Wills | ESPNDallas.com
HOUSTON -- The Texas Rangers rallied yet again Friday night, scoring four times in the top of the eighth inning on the way to a 9-5 victory over the Houston Astros.
The Rangers remained in a first-place tie in the American League West with the Oakland Athletics, who beat the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night.
Rangers rally again: Just like they did against the Los Angeles Angels, the Rangers tore up the Astros' bullpen. Trailing 4-3 entering the top of the eighth, the Rangers scored four runs against five Houston relievers to take a 7-4 lead. Ian Kinsler started the inning with a walk and a stolen base on a close play at second base. Adrian Beltre brought him in with a single up the middle to tie the game. The Rangers produced two-out magic later in the inning. Jurickson Profar drew a bases-loaded walk for a 5-4 lead. Leonys Martin followed with a two-run double for a 7-4 advantage.
Astros blow another save: Maybe Astros starter Erik Bedard should have tried to go nine. The Astros blew their eighth save in the past 10 chances. They dealt their closer, Jose Veras, to Detroit before the trade deadline.
Cotts saves day: Setup man Tanner Scheppers loaded the bases with a 7-4 lead in the bottom of the eighth on two walks and a hit batter. Astros manager Bo Porter made the strange move of pinch hitting left-handed hitter Marc Krauss with two outs. That allowed Rangers manager Ron Washington to go to the red-hot Neal Cotts. Cotts was able to strike out Krauss in a very good battle to end the threat.
Astros go deep: Matt Garza didn't have to be upset about the bunt game Friday night. This time it was the long ball and the double. The Astros hammered two long home runs against him, one by catcher Jason Castro for a 1-0 lead in the second inning, and another solo shot by center fielder Brandon Barnes that gave Houston a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth. Garza also allowed three consecutive doubles to begin the bottom of the fourth as he turned a brief 2-1 lead into a 3-2 deficit.
Garza still gets win: Credit Garza for grinding his way through seven innings and staying around long enough to get the win. He threw 108 pitches and had eight strikeouts.
Sacrificing for runs: The Rangers took the lead in the top of the fourth with a sacrifice fly and a squeeze bunt. They loaded the bases with no outs on a single by Kinsler, a walk by Beltre and a single by A.J. Pierzynski. Jeff Baker followed with a sacrifice fly to center field on a scorching line drive that required a nice running catch by Barnes. Craig Gentry then executed a squeeze bunt to score Beltre from third base for a 2-1 lead.
Doubles machine: Left fielder Joey Butler made his first major league start Friday night and had two doubles, both to the opposite field. Butler also drew a crucial walk in the Rangers' four-run eighth inning. With two on and two outs, Butler walked on five pitches. Profar followed by drawing a bases-loaded walk for the lead.
Trouble with Bedard: Bedard, who went in with a career 3.51 ERA against the Rangers, again gave Texas fits. He allowed two runs on seven hits in 6⅔ innings. Bedard had five strikeouts and was able to slow down Martin, who was 0-for-4 against the Astros lefty and didn't get the ball out of the infield.
Up next: The Rangers have three games left against the Astros. The rest of the pitching matchups: Saturday, left-hander Derek Holland (9-6, 3.02 ERA) versus right-hander Brad Peacock (1-4, 7.25); Sunday, left-hander Martin Perez (4-3, 3.81) faces left-hander Dallas Keuchel (5-6, 4.96); and Monday, right-hander Yu Darvish (11-5, 2.72) takes on left-hander Brett Oberholtzer (2-0, 2.53).