Kent Bottenfield once won 18 games in an otherwise undistinguished career. Scott Elarton once won 17. Perhaps this is just the career year for former Astro J.A. Happ who won his ninth straight decision Thursday night at the expense of the team that traded him back in 2013. It was a 4-1 Toronto verdict which made any comeback season by Houston tougher than a three-day-old steak.
Bregman: Glimmer of hope
(c) Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle
Happ gave up four hits and one run in six innings while increasing his record to 15-3. A trio of relievers mopped up for him.
The Astros' only run came when Tyler White doubled home Evan Gattis in the fifth. Houston has lost eight of their last ten and the offense can take most of the blame having scored just 21 runs over that span.
Mike Fiers gave a yeoman effort - two runs allowed on five hits over six innings. Here's a bizarre stat to consider. Houston set a major league record for a four-game series, striking out 61 Blue Jays. Yet they still lost three of four.
Alex Bregman got his second big league hit to give him an .057 average since the call-up. He also drew a walk.
The Rangers won to put themselves 6-1/2 games ahead in the AL West and can deliver the knockout blow with a three-game series at Minute Maid this weekend. The Astros are 1-9 this season against our neighbors to the north. If they are swept this weekend, they might as well sit the veterans and play the kids the rest of the year.
Dallas Keuchel (6-11) will get the first crack at turning around the season in a 7:10 Central opener. Martin Perez (7-7) will oppose him in a battle of southpaws. If you have Fox Sports Southwest or ROOT Sports Southwest, you'll be able to watch it unfold.
- Bob Hulsey