Wednesday, July 9, 2014
Rapid Reaction: Astros 8, Rangers 4
By Randy Jennings
Special to ESPNDallas.com
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Presented with two early leads, Yu Darvish could hold neither.
The Texas Rangers' All-Star pitcher yielded 10 hits and six earned runs, a season-worst in both areas, in an 8-4 loss to the Houston Astros on Wednesday night before 31,161 at Globe Life Park.
Texas trailed 6-4 when Darvish departed after six innings. Houston completed a sweep of the three-game series and caught the Rangers in the American League West standings.
The free fall continues for Texas, losers of four in a row and 18 of 21.
A few observations:
Not Yu's night: It was not the kind of boost from their ace the Rangers needed with things crumbling around them.
Darvish didn't help himself with a wild pitch that cost him a run in the second inning. He was slow covering first, allowing George Springer to leg out an infield hit in the third, but pitched out of that mistake with a strikeout and a double play.
Darvish struck out the side in the fourth by featuring a sub-80 mph breaking ball. But in the fifth, Robbie Grossman timed one and tied the score with a solo home run just inside the right field foul pole.
The real damage was inflicted by Astros catcher Carlos Corporan when he found the left-field foul line with a two-run double in the sixth to break a 4-4 deadlock. Shin-Soo Choo made a diving attempt at a catch but came up empty.
Oh Danny boy: On the bright side, Daniel Robertson came up with his biggest hit in his two months with the Rangers, grounding a bases-loaded double past Houston third baseman Matt Dominguez to key a three-run second inning for a 4-2 Texas lead.
Bullpen woes: Troubles of late continued for Rangers reliever Jason Frasor. Springer tagged him for a two-run home run in the seventh. That made it four straight appearances for Frasor to permit runs.
Lucky 13: Adrian Beltre wasted no time extending his hitting streak to 13 games with a first-inning RBI single. In his last 14 chances with runners in scoring position, Beltre has nine hits.
Better start: Alex Rios doubled in the first inning and scored the game's first run. The 1-0 lead was the Rangers' first in 28 innings going back to Saturday's 5-3 win over the Mets. Rios was robbed of extra bases in the third inning when Springer crashed into the center-field wall while hauling in Rios' 400-foot drive.
Blinded by the light: The setting sun factored in two Houston runs in the second inning. Choo was slow to locate Enrique Hernandez's catchable drive that hit near the warning track. It went for an RBI triple. Hernandez raced home on a wild pitch for a 2-1 Houston lead.
Fast learner: Jake Smolinski was rewarded for his two hits in his first Rangers start on Tuesday with an elevation to the fifth spot. He didn't disappoint, lining singles to left, right and center in his first three plate appearance, giving him a streak of five consecutive hits. Maybe promotions from Frisco to Round Rock to Arlington over a two-week period are inspirational.
Up next: The Rangers open a four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels at 7:05 p.m. CT on Thursday with Colby Lewis (6-5, 5.51 ERA) facing off against Hector Santiago (0-7, 4.50 ERA) at Globe Life Park on ESPN 103.3 FM and Fox Sports Southwest.