When you’ve has struggled against a team for awhile it feels like it may take an act of God to finally breakthrough. Saturday’s game at Minute Maid Park felt like that at multiple points, but finally after 3 hours and 21 minutes the Astros broke through and beat the Texas Rangers for the first time in eight meetings 9-7.
Saturday’s game started out the way most games between the two American League West rivals begin. The Rangers scored first, rallying for three runs in the first inning with two out. Mitch Moreland doubled home two, while Rougned Odor singled home a third.
Carlos Correa started his big afternoon with a 2-out solo shot in the bottom fo the inning to bring the Astros within two, and after Shin-Soo Choo took Collin McHugh deep in the third, Jose Altuve started the bottom of the inning with a home run, and after George Springer singled, Correa went deep again to tie the game, and the game remained knotted until the bottom of the sixth when the Astros played long ball again.
It has been a rough season for Chris Carter, but he gave the Astros their first lead of the series when he greeted Chi Chi Gonzalez to the game with his 21st home run of the season, and with the tying run in scoring position in the seventh, Tony Sipp struck out Prince Fielder to keep the Astros lead, and they added to it in the bottom of the inning.
After Correa walked, he advanced to third when Jed Lowrie on an error by Rangers’ third baseman Mitch Moreland. Evan Gattis made it a 2-run game when he brought Correa with a sacrifice fly, then on his very first swing on the day, Colby Rasmus, brought into the game as a defensive replacement, homered to make it 8-4.
Altuve went yard in the eighth for the first multi-homer game of his career to make it a 5-run game, and it looked like the game was over, especially after Luke Gregerson struck out the first two batters of the ninth, but for the Astros, beating the Rangers is never that easy.
Will Venable singled through the whole on the right side. Delino DeShield’s followed with an infield single. Venable scored on Choo’s single, and Fielder singled home DeShields and Choo to bring Texas with a pair. After Adrian Beltre was hit by a pitch to put the tying run on base, Astros’ manager A.J. Hinch lifted Gregerson in favor of Will Harris who got Moreland to ground out to second, ending the game, and the Astros 8-game skid against Texas.
The win gets the Astros back within 3.5 games of Texas for first place in the American League West, and ensures that they will be atop the standings for the final wild card spot in the American League for another day.
Houston’s six home runs is a season-high, and one off the franchise record.
McHugh tossed 6.2 innings allowing four runs, earning his 18th win of the season.