Springer's leadoff HR
(c) Associated Press
The Rangers lost a 1-run game... to the Astros!
The division leaders in the A.L. West entered Sunday afternoon's game on pace to set a record for winning percentage in 1-run games and having beaten the Astros 13 times in 15 meetings. But some early offense and solid relief pitching from the Astros helped to turn those trends around and snap Arlington's 7-game win streak.
George Springer got the offense going early, leading off the game with his 26th home run of the season. Yulieski Gurriel added an RBI single off Yu Darvish later in the inning to build momentum. Houston added three runs in the fourth to take a 5-0 lead, knocking Darvish out of the game prematurely.
A 2-run homer by Rougned Odor in the fourth inning cut the lead to 5-2 and had Astros fans starting to think -- "here we go again".
Evan Gattis provided a bit of breathing room with a solo shot to centerfield off Nick Martinez in the fifth. But the Rangers rallied again, scoring three times in the bottom of the inning, sending Houston starter Collin McHugh to an early exit.
Chris Devenski came out of the Astros' bullpen and did what he has done all year. The rookie right-hander pitched 1-2/3 innings of scoreless relief and was rewarded with his third win of the season.
The Astros added what turned out to be an important insurance run in the sixth. With runners at first and third with one out, Jose Altuve hit a hard grounder up the middle. Rangers shortstop Jurickson Profar made a nice diving stop and flipped the ball to Odor at second in what suddenly looked like it was going to be a heart-breaking double-play. But Odor took his eye off the ball and it clanked off his glove, dropping harmlessly to the scorching earth of The Broilpark, allowing Springer to score Houston's seventh run of the day.
With a 2-run lead in hand and a well-rested bullpen, the Astros were now in the driver's seat. Will Harris and Luke Gregerson shut down the Arlington bats for the next two innings and Ken Giles entered in the ninth looking for his eighth save of the year.
Ian Desmond took advantage of a slider that Giles left in the middle of the plate, smacking a leadoff triple to left-center. Giles bounced back to strike out Carlos Beltran on three pitches before Adrian Beltre's ground out brought Desmond home to make it a 1-run affair.
Odor stepped to the plate with a chance to make up for his error, but struck out swinging at a nasty slider from Giles to end it.
Alex Bregman had three hits and Springer drove in two runs to help salvage the final game of a 3-game set. The Astros now head to Cleveland for four against the first-place Indians. Mike Fiers goes up against Corey Kluber in Monday's 6:05 CDT opener.
- Greg Thurston