Beltran, Odor, Lucroy power Rangers past Astros
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The big inning for the Texas Rangers proved to be just enough against the Houston Astros on Friday night.
Carlos Beltran, Rougned Odor and Jonathan Lucroy homered during a seven-run fourth inning as the Texas Rangers hung on for a 10-8 win over the Astros.
The win assured the first-place Rangers a .500 season with their 81st win and increased their American League West lead over the Astros to 9 1/2 games.
The seven-run fourth gave Texas a 9-2 lead that it extended to 10-3 after six innings. The Rangers then had to hang on as the Astros rallied late and had the tying run at the plate in the eighth inning.
"We were really aggressive early and that's been the key for us lately," said Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus, who got the big inning started with an RBI double. "Every time we score early we set the tone of the game. They (the Astros) have a really good offense too and we were able to keep the game on our side."
The game was tied at 2 before Texas sent 12 batters to the plate against Houston starter Doug Fister (12-10) and reliever Michael Feliz in the fourth.
The Andrus double gave the Rangers the lead for good but they were far from done. Beltran pushed the lead to 5-2 with a two-run homer and two batters later second baseman Odor ended Fister's night with a two-run homer of his own. Feliz came on and was greeted by a solo shot by Lucroy, which extended the Texas lead to 9-2.
"I like our approach against the starter," Texas manager Jeff Banister said. "They're extremely prepared, veteran guys with a mix of some really good young players that continue to have spectacular at-bats. I think when we get a guy down, they continue to try to stay through the middle of the field and they put good swings on them."
Right-hander A.J. Griffin (7-3) was the beneficiary of the offense. He gave up three runs on three hits in 5 2/3 innings. Fister was tagged for eight runs (seven earned) on 10 hits in 3 1/3 innings.
"I think he (Fister) had a bad day at work," Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. "And it's a tough lineup to go through when you're not at your best and not executing pitches and not being able to finish at-bats. They put a lot of good swings on him."
Houston closed the gap with three runs in the seventh on a two-run triple from Alex Bregman and an error.
Bregman finished with three RBI and two of the seven Houston hits. Pinch hitter Tyler White cut the lead to two with a two-run double to left center in the eighth inning. Texas right-hander Keone Kela got Bregman to pop up to end that threat as the tying run. Sam Dyson closed out the Astros for his 31st save with a perfect ninth.
"We battled back," Bregman said. "A lot of guys had good at-bats to fight to get us back in the game. Had an opportunity to tie it and didn't come through. It's baseball. We're focused on the next pitch and we'll be ready to play tomorrow."
Bregman helped give the Astros an early 2-0 lead in the first with a homer.
Texas had 13 hits, with Odor, Lucroy, Mitch Moreland, Andrus and Carlos Gomez each collecting two. Beltran had three RBI and Andrus two.
NOTES: The Rangers are donating proceeds from their 50/50 raffle Sunday to the Red Cross to aid in Louisiana flood relief. The Astros are doing the same Sept. 12. ... The Astros called up RHP Jandel Gustave, RHP James Hoyt and 1B Tyler White from Triple-A Fresno and added RHP Brady Rodgers to their roster. ... Wednesday's grand-slam cycle for the Rangers (solo, two-run homer, three-run homer, grand slam) marked the first time Texas had done that in a game since Aug. 1, 2002. ... Friday's game marked the first of 13 straight for the Astros against teams currently in first place in the division (Texas, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland). ... Texas bench coach Steve Buechele has been excused from Sunday's game. His son Shane could be the starter at quarterback for Texas when it plays Notre Dame in Austin.