Rookie Joe Musgrove held his own against Rangers hypnotist Yu Darvish on Sunday afternoon and the Astros rallied in the the ninth to tie the game, sending it into extra innings, but the bullpen soon caved again as the Rangers took a 5-3 verdict in 11 innings to open up a 7-1/2 game margin over Houston. Seattle slipped into second place with a 3-1 win over the Angels.
Musgrove: 0.79 ERA after 2 games
(c) Karen Warren/Houston Chronicle
Musgrove, in just his second big league game, showed he's unlikely to get sent down anytime soon. The 23-year-old righthander tossed seven innings, allowing one run on five hits while fanning six and walking nobody. His lone run came in the fifth when Rougned Odor led off with a single and scored all the way from first on Jonathon Lucroy's double.
Darvish is still a mystery to Houston hitters, blanking the Astros for seven innings on five hits. He struck out eight and walked nobody. Jeremy Jeffress, however, was a different story. After Will Harris gave up a two-run double to Jurickson Profar to put Houston down by three, Tony Kemp started the rally with a single off Jeffress.
Wait, Tony Kemp? Yes, the Fresno Flash had been called up overnight to take the place of Colby Rasmus who was sent to the disabled list with a cyst on his ear. Kemp scampered home on Alex Bregman's double then Jose Altuve singled in Bregman. Suddenly, the Astros trailed by just 3-2.
Sam Dyson came in again for the ninth-inning save but, unlike Saturday, he wasn't so lucky. A.J. Reed drew a one-out walk and letting Carlos Gomez pinch-run for him. After a bunt, Kemp slapped a single to center to tie the game.
Ken Giles had struck out four Rangers in one inning and Pat Neshek survived a three-hit tenth without giving up a run but Chris Devenski gave up a leadoff double to Shin-Soo Choo in the 11th and Ian Desmond shooed Choo home with a go-ahead single. Later, Odor plated an insurance run before James Hoyt finished out the frame.
Former prisoner Matt Bush retired two men before Jake Marisnick doubled and little Kemp beat out his third hit of the game. However, Bush struck out George Springer to slam the door for the Rangers' 11th win in 13 tries against Houston this year.
After an ugly 2-5 homestand, the Astros now hit the road with a three-game series in Minnesota. Collin McHugh (7-8) will try to change the momentum when he faces Houston native Tyler Duffey (6-8) in a 7:10 Central contest at Hit The Target Field.
Overall, the younger Astros had a good day and one can hope some momentum was built, especially for Musgrove, Bregman and Kemp.
- Bob Hulsey