Doug Fister gave up a run and scattered four hits in five strong innings, and Joey Gallo and Elvis Andrus each had two hits and an RBI as the Texas Rangers defeated the Houston Astros 5-1 on Friday at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, evening the four-game, opening-weekend series at a game apiece.
Fister (1-0), who was acquired by the Rangers as a free agent in the offseason, struck out three and walked three in besting Houston’s 1A ace Dallas Keuchel.
Keuchel (0-1), surrendered three runs (all earned) on seven hits in six innings of work. He struck out four and walked one in a 99-pitch stint.
Texas pounded out 10 hits in the win, led by Shin-Soo Choo with three, and Nomar Mazara scored twice.
The Astros managed just five hits off five Texas pitchers, with reigning American League MVP Jose Altuve collecting two of those.
The Rangers took their first lead of the young season on a solo home run to center field by the left-handed-batting Mazara in the second inning off Keuchel, who gave up just three round-trippers to left-handed batters in all of 2017.
Texas expanded that advantage to 3-0 in the fourth when they loaded the bases with no outs and pushed across two runs on back-to-back sacrifice flies from Robinson Chirinos and Rougned Odor that plated Adrian Beltre and Mazara, respectively.
Houston answered with a run in the fifth, a Max Stassi double that drove home Evan Gattis, who had doubled to lead off the inning.
The Astros had a chance to do some damage in the sixth, loading the bases with two outs on reliever Chris Martin. But Martin struck out Gattis before being lifted for Alex Claudio, who fanned pinch hitter J.D. Davis to end the threat.
Texas added two insurance runs in the seventh off reliever Joe Smith. Joey Gallo’s ringing double off the top of the center field fence scored Delino DeShields Jr. all the way from first base and Elvis Andrus promptly singled home Gallo, pushing the Rangers’ lead to 5-1.
The Astros will send right-hander Lance McCullers Jr. (7-4, 4.25 ERA in 2017) against Texas left-hander Matt Moore (6-15, 5.52 ERA in 2017) in the third game of the series on Saturday afternoon.
—Field Level Media