Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 3, Astros 2
By Todd Wills
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Adrian Beltre ended a long home run drought and the Rangers held on for a 3-2 victory over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.
The Rangers stayed within a game of the Cleveland Indians for the final wild-card spot after the Indians had a two-run, walk-off homer from pinch hitter Jason Giambi.
Texas is two games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the first wild-card spot after the Rays won in New York against the Yankees 7-0. All three teams have five games left.
Beltre finally homers: Beltre ended his September home run drought in the bottom of the sixth to give the Rangers a 3-2 lead. He slugged a 1-2 fastball from Brad Peacock into the left-field seats for his 29th of the season. It was Beltre's first home run in 83 at-bats this month and his first since Aug. 28 against Seattle.
Soto power: Geovany Soto started Tuesday's game, the fourth straight time with Yu Darvish pitching, and the Rangers have benefited from his bat just as much as his work behind the plate. Soto tied the game at one in the bottom of the fourth with an RBI single, sneaking a ground ball past Brett Wallace. Soto is batting .393 with two home runs and five RBIs in his past nine games.
Rangers take lead: Craig Gentry had a leadoff single in the bottom of the fifth, which gives him nine hits in his past 18 at-bats. He went to second on Leonys Martin's sacrifice bunt and scored on Ian Kinsler's RBI single for a 2-1 lead.
Darvish gets no-decision: Darvish allowed only two runs in 5⅓ innings, but it was another start in which he didn't make it through six innings. That's three times in five starts this month. Darvish also gave up a lead with a home run again, the third time that's happened since the All-Star break. This one came from Astros third baseman Matt Dominguez, who tied the game in the top of the sixth with his 21st home run. He has three long balls against Darvish this season, the only hits he has against him.
Darvish K meter: Darvish had nine strikeouts, giving him a major league-best 269 K's for the season. Darvish struck out the side in the fourth and fifth innings.
Cotts and Scheppers: Manager Ron Washington has been calling upon Tanner Scheppers and Neal Cotts earlier in games and asking them to get an extra out or two, and they have been brilliant. Cotts came on with a runner on in the top of the sixth with the Rangers leading 3-2 and got out of a jam with a runner in scoring position. Scheppers entered in the seventh with a runner at second and one out and got a lineout and a strikeout. Scheppers then got two quick outs in the top of the eighth before a walk and a single forced Washington to go the bullpen again, this time to Jason Frasor.
Frasor gets big out: Frasor, the losing pitcher in Kansas City on Friday night when he loaded the bases and had to watch as Neftali Feliz walked in the go-ahead run, had to keep two runners put on base by Scheppers from scoring. He did it. Frasor got ahead of Astros catcher Carlos Corporan with two fastballs. Then, he threw another one that Corporan popped up to shallow center field for the third out.
Up next: The Rangers go for a three-game sweep of Houston when left-hander Martin Perez (9-5, 3.54 ERA) faces Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel (6-9, 4.99 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday night on Fox Sports Southwest and ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and 1540 AM.