- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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HOUSTON -- It’s never going to be easy with young pitchers still learning the craft.
Some nights things work well and other nights make you shake your head in disgust.
Sunday afternoon there was no reason for Rangers fans to be upset after Nick Martinez's efforts at Minute Maid Park against the Houston Astros. Martinez earned his first victory since May 24 in helping the Rangers end a two-game losing streak with a 6-2 victory.
The win also ended a personal seven-game losing streak for the 24-year old Martinez (2-8) in his first season as a full-time starter.
Should Martinez even be here?
That’s up for debate given the injury situation with the Rangers, and, like most of the young pitchers on this staff, he’s auditioning for 2015.
Consistency is something the Rangers brass is seeking and his inability to finish games leaves Rangers fans shaking their heads.
The Rangers gave him leads of 3-0 and 4-1 in his previous two starts and he lost them. Sunday the Rangers hitters rallied from a 2-0 deficit to give him a 4-2 lead. Martinez made it stand strong and, despite throwing 102 pitches, he lasted to the fifth inning where he struck out a career-high six in getting the victory.
How it happened: Martinez worked in and out of trouble for his five innings where the Astros generated just two runs. The Astros left men on base in the first, second, third and fifth innings. At one point, Martinez retired seven of nine hitters.
The Rangers did their work thanks to some speed in the fourth and fifth innings before using the long ball to secure the victory.
In the fourth, Alex Rios picked up his fourth hit of the road trip, an RBI double to left center that cut the deficit to 2-1. Rios later scored on Adam Rosales' infield single that scooted past Astros shortstop Marwin Gonzalez. Rios beat the throw home to tied the score at 2-2. The Rangers added two more when Robinson Chirinos' speed allowed him to score on a wild pitch and Daniel Robertson ran home on Andrus' sacrifice fly to center for a 4-2 edge.
The Rangers put the game away on a pair of solo homers by Adrian Beltre and Shin-Soo Choo. It was Choo’s 1,001st hit of his career and Beltre’s homer was his 17th of the season. It also gave him 393 in his career, tying him with Jim Edmonds for 56th place all-time.
The Silver Boot: The Rangers are 4-8 against the Astros this season, and with four games remaining between the teams, the Silver Boot is still in doubt. The Rangers’ victory on Sunday ended a seven-game losing streak to their I-45 rivals. The Rangers also ended a four-game losing streak at Minute Maid Park.
Rios hurt again: Rios re-injured his right ankle sliding into home plate on Rosales’ infield hit in the fourth inning. He was replaced by Jim Adduci. Rios missed the previous two games to give the ankle some rest. He went 1-2 with a fly out and a double off the wall in left before leaving. Rios is listed as day-to-day.
After clearing waivers on Thursday, the Rangers can trade him, but with this ankle injury bothering him, finding trade partners will be difficult.