Texas Rangers: Chris Snyder
For the second straight night, errors led to game-changing innings as the Rangers clinched a series win over the Houston Astros on Saturday.
In Friday's contest, it was an five-run fifth, started by a one-out error, that gave Texas the edge. On Saturday, it was five-run sixth that sealed the Astros' fate.
It all got started on back-to-back singles by Craig Gentry and Ian Kinsler, who broke an 0-for-14 streak. Then, a one-out comebacker to the mound from Michael Young got Gentry in a rundown between third and home, but a Houston catcher Chris Snyder dropped a throw and the Rangers loaded the bases.
Adrian Beltre drove two runners in on a single before Nelson Cruz gave the Rangers a 5-3 lead on a three-run home run.
"(Astros starter Lucas Harrell) was dealing the first five innings," Cruz said. "Finally, we got some men on base and things started to come apart (for Houston). ... I was looking for something in. That was the same pitch he gave to Adrian Beltre and Michael Young. I was able to drive it."
Errors plagued the Astros again in the seventh. Gentry stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Snyder, his second miscue of the game. Gentry scored on a single by Kinsler, who came in himself on a sacrifice fly from Young.
So while the Rangers' offense has been struggling in the past few weeks, it is still making teams pay for giving them extra outs. The real question is whether the offense will get going.
"I think overall we've done a really good job the last few series getting a clutch hit when we need it," Cruz said. "Everybody's been doing it. It's not one person. It's the whole team."
Will the trend set that last two days continue? Who knows? But it is encouraging to see runs being scored with Josh Hamilton, the biggest offensive threat, out with an illness. David Murphy has been scorching hot as of late, going 8-for-15 in the last five games.
"We’d been waiting on Murphy," manager Ron Washington said. "It’s nice to see he’s started swinging the bat because when Murphy is swinging the bat he, certainly, can deliver some RBIs."
The Texas Rangers left-handed starter lost a four-run lead, gave up a season-high three home runs and was taken out after just five innings.
He took the loss in a 6-5 victory for the Houston Astros on Saturday night.
It was Holland's first start since May 10, but he pitched one inning of relief Monday against Kansas City and had one bullpen session before the team arrived here.
So with all the rest, what happened?
"The first two innings, he was real sharp," manager Ron Washington said. "Then all of a sudden he couldn't get the ball to his arm side, which means he had to come to the middle of the plate or inside, and he didn't get there and those right-handed hitters just turned him around. When the first two innings started, I thought he was on his way to having a pretty good game, it just didn't turn out that way. He got the ball up and got into some wrong spots and those right-handed hitters didn't miss it."
Holland (3-3) allowed five runs, all earned, on five hits and two walks. He struck out six while throwing 100 pitches. In the first three innings, Holland struck out three and only allowed two hits, an infield single by Jed Lowrie and a home run to the No. 8 hitter Chris Snyder.
It unraveled in the fourth when he walked Justin Maxwell to start things and gave up a home run to cleanup hitter Carlos Lee to cut a 4-1 deficit to one. In the fifth, he gave up a two-out single to Jose Altuve and Maxwell hit what Washington called a "bomb" to left that gave the Astros a 5-4 lead.
Washington said his young starter has to finish the deal when given a lead.
"It's obvious I was supposed to put that away," Holland said. "But I couldn't get my fastball down and a couple of pitches got away and they hit them."
Holland said he didn't really know what was going on with his lack of command after the second inning.
"To be honest, I couldn't really tell you exactly what it was," he said. "I just know my fastball command went erratic all of a sudden. I couldn't locate down, everything was up. Just fell behind a lot so it made it predictable what to sit on, too."
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