Rapid Reaction: Rangers 5, Astros 4
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Elvis Andrus had a walk-off sacrifice fly to score Adam Rosales in the bottom of the ninth to lift the Texas Rangers to a 5-4 victory over the Houston Astros on Wednesday night.
What it means: The Rangers swept the three-game series, giving them an 18-4 record since July 29. Texas upped its lead to 2½ games in the American League West. The Rangers are 75-53 and are 21 games over .500 for the first time this season.
Eighth-inning disaster: Tanner Scheppers, who has been better of late, made a mess of the top of the eighth with the Rangers leading 4-2. He allowed a leadoff single to Robbie Grossman but then got L.J. Hoes to ground into a double play. Then came a single, walk, RBI single, hit batter and hit batter against Scheppers. There were also two wild pitches in the inning. Scheppers hit rookie catcher Max Stassi in the shoulder and jaw with the bases loaded to tie the game at 4-4. Stassi left the game with what appeared to be blood from his nose.
Frasor saves the day: Jason Frasor came in for the wild Scheppers and, with the bases loaded, struck out Brett Wallace to keep the game tied at 4-4.
Holland robbed again: Derek Holland has two wins in 13 starts at home this season. He left with another lead, this time 3-1. The Rangers have eight blown saves this season. Five of them have come in a Holland start. He allowed four hits and two runs in six innings.
Gentry goes deep: Left fielder Craig Gentry pounded his second home run of the season -- his first in 108 at-bats -- to tie the game at 1-1 in the third inning. Gentry's home run to left-center field went 426 feet according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Rangers take lead: The Rangers took a 2-1 lead with two outs in the bottom of the third. Second baseman Ian Kinsler had a single to left field. Adrian Beltre followed with a single down the left field line, and when Astros left fielder Brandon Barnes bobbled the ball, Kinsler hustled around third and scored for a 2-1 lead.
Bedard gets wild: Astros starter Erik Bedard walked Gentry and Leonys Martin to start the bottom of the fifth. After Elvis Andrus flew out to deep left field, Kinsler had a line drive single to center field for a 3-1 lead. Bedard was lifted for reliever rookie David Martinez, who in his major league debut got Beltre to ground into a double play.
Gentry in the field too: Gentry made a nice running catch for the third out of the sixth inning with the tying runs on base and Astros No. 3 hitter Jose Altuve at the plate. Gentry went back in front of the wall and made a leaping catch to keep the score at 3-1.
Soria gets it done: Derek Holland started the seventh inning by giving up a single on a ball that skimmed his forearm off the bat of Jason Castro. Holland then walked Chris Carter and Matt Dominguez to load the bases with the Rangers still holding a 3-1 lead. Manager Ron Washington went to the bullpen for veteran reliever Joakim Soria, who held that lead. Soria got a double play ball from Stassi with Castro scoring to make it 3-2 Rangers. After walking left-handed pinch hitter Brett Wallace, Soria got Marwin Gonzalez to ground out weakly to third to end the inning.
Insurance run: The Rangers took advantage of an error by Gonzalez at shortstop to put Gentry on second base to start the bottom of the seventh. Texas got the run home with small ball as Leonys Martin bunted Gentry to third and he scored on Elvis Andrus' perfectly executed suicide squeeze bunt for a 4-2 lead.
Up next: The Rangers have an off day Thursday, their third of the month. Then they open a three-game series at Chicago on Friday against the White Sox. The pitching matchups are: Friday, LHP Martin Perez (6-3, 3.48) versus LHP Chris Sale (9-11, 2.78); Saturday, RHP Yu Darvish versus LHP Hector Santiago (4-7, 3.27); Sunday, RHP Matt Garza (9-2, 3.81) versus LHP John Danks (3-10, 4.22).
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.