Monday, May 12, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Rangers 4, Astros 0
By Jean-Jacques Taylor
HOUSTON -- Colby Lewis had his slider working, which meant the Houston Astros had problems.
Lewis allowed seven hits, while striking out eight and walking two in 5 2/3 innings as the Texas Rangers won in a 4-0 shutout at Minute Maid Park.
Lewis was in control most of the night because he kept Houston off balance. When the Astros' hitters looked for the fastball, Lewis fooled them with the slider. When they looked for the slider, he slipped a fastball past them.
It’s the league-leading ninth shutout for the Rangers this season, including three against Houston. Four Texas pitchers combined for a season-high 12 strikeouts.
Adrian Beltre and rookie Rougned Odor provided the offense.
Beltre hit a two-run homer in the third inning, while Odor drove in two runs with an RBI single in the third and the first homer -- an upper-deck blast to right field -- of his MLB career in the sixth. The Rangers scored all of their runs with two outs in an inning.
A few observations:
Gunslinger: Robinson Chirinos continued his excellent rate of throwing out baserunners with a strong throw in the first inning. Chirinos, who has thrown out a league-leading 10 of 21 baserunners this season, made a nice throw to Elvis Andrus, who put the tag on Jose Altuve's head as he slid into the bag. Houston manager Bo Porter argued briefly before returning to the dugout. Dexter Fowler, the next batter, tripled to right, which meant Chirinos' throw saved a run.
Gunslinger II: The Astros attempted a double steal in the third inning with two out and cleanup hitter Matt Dominguez at bat. The idea, of course, was to put two runners in scoring position for their cleanup hitter. Fowler didn't get a good jump at first base and was thrown out by a foot to end the inning.
Power surge: Beltre, mired in a 1-for-16 slump, found a 2-0 pitch to his liking. He turned on a fastball and lifted a no-doubter over the left-field fence for just his third homer of the season.
Nifty glove work: With two out and a runner on third in the first inning, Andrus snared a wicked one-hopper on the fringe of the outfield grass and made a strong throw to Prince Fielder, who made a nice stretch.
Streaking: Andrus extended his hitting streak to nine games with a one-out double to left in the first inning. Mitch Moreland extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single to left in the fourth.
Hidden-ball trick: Odor positioned himself in front of well-stroked one-hopper by Dominguez in the bottom of the sixth. The ball ricocheted into Odor’s chest and somehow wound up inside his jersey, right between the E and the X. The runner was declared safe.
Memorable moments: Odor drove in the first run of his major league career with a solid single to center past a diving Altuve as the Rangers took a 3-0 lead. He added his first homer in the sixth inning, ripping a pitch into the upper deck in right field.
Up next: The Rangers will play Game 2 of their three-game series against Houston with Matt Harrison (1-0, 2.87) facing Dallas Keuchel (3-2, 3.68) in Tuesday's 7:10 p.m. CT start on ESPN's 103.3 FM and Fox Sports Southwest.