Texas Rangers: Brandon Lyon
Record must wait: Darvish remains tied for most wins by a Rangers rookie (12) with Chris Young (2005), Kevin Brown (1989) and Edwin Correa (1986). Darvish reached double digits in strikeouts for the seventh time this season. That ties the Rangers rookie record held by Jim Bibby (1973).
The long ball: Edwin Encarnacion's first-inning two-run home run was his second of the season off Darvish.
It Happ-ened: Former Houston Astros lefty J.A. Happ was perfect through three innings and tied a Blue Jays record with six straight strikeouts (Ted Lilly in 2004, Marc Rzepczynski in 2010). Happ’s perfect game ended with a leadoff walk in the fourth inning. His no-hitter concluded when Michael Young led off the fifth with a single. Happ pitched six innings and allowed just one run on two hits while striking out eight.
Lefty vs. lefty: Left-handed hitting David Murphy entered Friday with a .386 batting average (17-for-44) against left-handed pitchers. He singled off Happ after Young's base hit in the fifth and finished 2-for-4.
Gentry starts: Murphy’s effective bat against lefties has kept right-handed hitting Craig Gentry on the bench lately, but he’s been in the starting lineup in two straight games. On Friday night, he drove in Young in the fifth inning with a ground out. Gentry has four RBIs in the last two games and 26 on the season.
More Gentry: With two outs in the fifth and the bases empty, Gentry attempted to make a diving catch in right-center field on Anthony Gose's flare. The ball bounced off the turf and ricocheted off Gentry’s glove for a Gose triple. Rangers killer Rajai Davis knocked in Gose with a single to give the Blue Jays a 3-1 lead.
Hamstrung: Nelson Cruz has a sore right hamstring and was not in the starting lineup. But he pinch-hit for Gentry in the seventh inning with two on and two out. Cruz walked to load the bases.
Gold Glove?: Former Ranger and 11-time Gold Glove infielder Omar Vizquel mishandled a Mike Olt ground ball in the seventh inning that allowed a run to and cut the Blue Jays' lead to 3-2.
Slumping Kinsler: With the bases loaded in the seventh inning, Ian Kinsler swung at the first pitch from Brandon Lyon and hit into an inning-ending fielder’s choice grounder. Kinsler is hitless in his last 16 at-bats.
Dempster on restricted list: Ryan Dempster was scheduled to start the second game of this three-game series, but he was placed on the restricted list for personal reasons. He is expected to rejoin the club Monday in Texas. Manager Ron Washington said on Rangers Baseball Tonight (the radio network pregame show) that the club learned about the situation last night, and that’s when they told Roy Oswalt that he would start in lieu of Dempster. OF Leonys Martin was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to take Dempster’s roster spot.
Up next: The Rangers and Blue Jays have a 12:07 pm first pitch Saturday for the second game of this three-game series. RHP Roy Oswalt (4-2, 6.53) and RHP Carlos Villanueva (6-3, 3.12) are the starting pitchers. Hear it on ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM and ESPN Deportes 1540 AM. It’s also on FOX Sports Southwest.
HOUSTON -- The Texas Rangers blew an early four-run lead and had a rally fall just a run short in a 6-5 loss to the Houston Astros on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.
Lefty Derek Holland, in his first starting appearance in eight days, had a four-run lead, but gave up a season-high three home runs and took the loss. The Rangers' biggest highlight was a David Murphy inside-the-park home run in the third that drove in three runs to give the Rangers a 4-0 lead.
Holland loses lead: Holland last started May 10 at Baltimore. He then pitched one inning in relief May 14 and had a bullpen session a few days later. Holland said he wasn't working on anything specifically and the extended rest shouldn't bother him. He pitched well early until the middle innings. With a 4-1 lead, Holland walked Justin Maxwell to start the fourth inning. Carlos Lee hammered a fastball to left for a home run to cut the deficit to 4-3. In the fifth, Holland gave up a two-out single to Jose Altuve and Maxwell hit a homer off a belt-high pitch to left, giving the Astros a 5-4 lead. Holland left after five innings. He gave up five earned runs on five hits and two walks. He struck out six.
Late rally shut down: The Rangers cut a two-run deficit to one when Josh Hamilton drove in Elvis Andrus on a sacrifice fly to right in the seventh inning. The Rangers tried to get a rally going in the eighth. Michael Young and Brandon Snyder reached on singles to start the inning. Reliever Brandon Lyon was brought in to minimize the damage. He got Nelson Cruz to fly out to right and Mike Napoli hit into what was almost a 4-6-3 double play. Instead, Napoli was ruled out at first but Snyder was safe at second when shortstop Jed Lowrie came off the bag too early on the relay throw from second baseman Altuve. Pinch hitter Craig Gentry ended the inning with a flyout to center.
The bullpen: Closer Joe Nathan appeared to be unavailable after pitching four consecutive days for the first time since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2010. Setup man Mike Adams was also unavailable because he's still recovering from a respiratory infection. It left manager Ron Washington to use Alexi Ogando, Mark Lowe and Koji Uehara as the setup men. Robbie Ross was available for at least one hitter after pitching Friday night. Ogando appeared in the sixth inning, relieving Holland. He allowed one run on two hits in two innings of work. Lowe pitched a scoreless eighth. He's allowed just one run the last nine games.
Hamilton in homerless string: Hamilton hasn't hit a home run the last seven games, his longest drought of the season. No biggie. Hamilton still leads the majors with 18 home runs. Hamilton had a six-game stretch where he hit nine home runs. When his night was over, Hamilton was 0-3.
Murphy hits inside-the-park home run: Murphy's third-inning inside-the-park home run was the first of his career and the 23rd in franchise history. Murphy sent a shot to right-center field where right fielder Maxwell missed a diving catch. Murphy beat the throw home easily. It was Murphy's first inside-the-park homer of his career and first for the Rangers since Gentry did it Sept. 23, 2011.
Notes: The Rangers started the season 15-4 but since then have gone just 10-12, including a 8-10 mark in May. ... Because of pinch hitters, the Rangers moved Hamilton to right field in the ninth inning.
Next: The Rangers and Astros play the finale of the Silver Boot series at Minute Maid Park. Colby Lewis takes on Jordan Lyles at 1:05 p.m.
103.3 FM ESPN PODCASTS
Play Podcast Rangers GM Jon Daniels joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to tackle the tough questions after his team failed to advance to the playoffs.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss having Nelson Cruz back in the lineup and how the Rangers are feeling heading into their wild-card play-in game against the Rays.
Play Podcast ESPN Insider and senior MLB analyst Jim Bowden joins Fitzsimmons and Durrett to discuss the wild-card race and the Rangers' chances of making the playoffs.
Play Podcast Chuck Cooperstein joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss why he feels Rangers pitcher Yu Darvish isn't an ace.
Play Podcast Elvis Andrus joins Galloway and Company to discuss the Rangers' stretch run and the morale level in their clubhouse.
Play Podcast Nolan Ryan joins Galloway and Company to discuss the latest Rangers news, including the team's struggles, Ron Washington's job security and a rumored trade with the Braves.
Play Podcast Ron Washington joins Ian Fitzsimmons and Tim MacMahon to discuss the Rangers' dismal September, who's to blame for their September struggles and his status as the team's manager.
Play Podcast Fitzsimmons and Durrett discuss how some people are calling for the Rangers to fire manager Ron Washington.