Ronald Guzman recorded the last of three sixth-inning doubles and the Texas Rangers rode a strong pitching performance from Mike Minor to a 4-3 victory and three-game series sweep of the Houston Astros on Sunday at Minute Maid Park.
The Astros dropped their fourth consecutive game and suffered their first series sweep on the season. Houston claimed the season series from Texas 12-7 but entered the weekend having won eight consecutive games against the Rangers. The Astros’ offense proved ineffective again.
Minor (7-6) recorded eight strikeouts, one shy of his season high, over six innings, issuing just one walk (an intentional pass to Astros designated hitter Evan Gattis with two outs in the sixth) while allowing two runs and four hits. He surrendered a two-out solo home run to Astros first baseman Tyler White in the second inning but retired the Astros in order in the first, third, and fourth innings.
When the Astros placed runners on second and third with no outs in the sixth, Minor wiggled free by allowing just one run when Tony Kemp came home on an Alex Bregman sacrifice fly. Houston manufactured the same situation against left-hander Alex Claudio an inning later, with J.D. Davis following a White single with a double to center field. The Astros came away empty-handed that frame, closing the game 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position after Kemp delivered a two-out, RBI single in the ninth.
Astros right-hander Lance McCullers (10-6) cruised through his first four innings of work, allowing just one hit while posting seven strikeouts. He faltered a bit in the fifth, allowing the Rangers to pull even at 1-1 on an RBI double by Delino DeShields before recovering to strike out Shin-Soo Choo for the third time in as many at-bats to strand two runners in scoring position.
But the Rangers responded with three runs in the sixth, with Rougned Odor and Jurickson Profar posting consecutive doubles for a 2-1 lead before Guzman chased McCullers with a double that scored Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who reached on an error by second baseman Yuli Gurriel.
McCullers produced 11 strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings and did not issue a walk. He allowed five of his six hits over the final 11 batters he faced, surrendering four runs (three earned) on the day.
Houston pitchers totaled 19 strikeouts, a club record for a nine-inning game.
—Field Level Media