Rapid Reaction: Astros 2, Rangers 0

August, 30, 2014
HOUSTON -- It hasn’t been determined whether left-handed starter Robbie Ross Jr. will cherish this Saturday night. The hug he received from Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington in the dugout was probably a sign it meant something to Ross.

Ross left after five no-hit innings, limited by pitch count because he threw 42 pitches on Thursday in Triple-A Round Rock and came up as an emergency starter to face the Houston Astros on Saturday night. Ross was supposed to throw no more than 60 pitches but threw 70 and was lifted accordingly.

But the Rangers bats couldn’t do anything against former teammate Scott Feldman and a pair of rookies made some interesting plays in the field leading to the only runs that were needed for a decision.

Indeed, the Astros beat the Rangers 2-0 at Minute Maid Park on a quirky play we’ll explain below.

How it happened? In a scoreless game, Rangers rookie reliever Phil Klein was left to keep it that way in the seventh inning. He allowed a leadoff walk to Jesus Guzman, and Carlos Corporan reached on an opposite-field ground-rule double to put runners at second and third with no outs. With the infield in, Klein was able to get Jake Marisnick to bounce between the mound and second. Klein fielded the ball and hesitated slightly. He threw to first, where rookie first baseman Ryan Rua was playing in just his second game of his big league career that started Friday night. Rua also went for the ball but had to retreat to the bag when Klein snagged the ball. Klein’s throw sailed past him and both runners scored.

If you review a few things or second-guess the play, maybe Klein should have let Rougned Odor make a play on the ball, since Odor was charging in. Either way, if Rua remained at first, it might have been possible for him to catch Klein’s throw. It’s hard to determine who was wrong on the play, yet there was nothing right about what occurred.

The last time: Well, the Rangers didn’t get the no-hitter. It was fitting considering the season they have experienced. To put Ross’ effort into perspective, on Aug. 23, 2010, Rich Harden shut out the Minnesota Twins over 6 2/3 innings while throwing 111 pitches. He’s the last Rangers pitcher to leave a game without allowing a hit while going at least five innings.

What happened to the Rangers’ bats? It happens. After scoring 13 runs Friday night, the Rangers were shut out for the ninth time this season and second time on this 10-game road trip. Feldman no-hit the Rangers for 4 1/3 innings until Rua’s single to center. Rua moved to second when Guzman failed to catch Feldman’s pickoff attempt. Adam Rosales and Tomas Telis were retired to end the threat. In the sixth, Odor reached on a single and was thrown out trying to steal second. Adrian Beltre drew a two-out walk in the seventh, but Rua bounced out to end any potential drama.

What’s next? RHP Nick Martinez (3-10, 5.31) will face LHP Dallas Keuchel (10-9, 3.05) at 1:10 p.m. CT Sunday to conclude the four-game series.
Calvin Watkins covers the Houston Rockets and the NBA for ESPN.com. He joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers as well as colleges, boxing and high school sports.



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Adrian Beltre
.324 19 77 79
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
WC. Lewis 10
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182