Mazara, Beltre help Rangers pound Astros
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers can do no wrong against the in-state rival Houston Astros.
The Rangers pounded out 16 hits and got two big home runs from Adrian Beltre and Nomar Mazara as they cruised to a 12-4 victory on Saturday.
The win increased Texas’ lead over Houston in the American League West to 10 1/2 games. It’s the largest lead of the season for the Rangers, who are 13-2 against Houston this year.
Every Texas starter had at least one hit and five players had two RBIs.
The game was tied at 1 after three innings before Texas took charge against Joe Musgrove (2-3) with two runs apiece in the fourth and fifth innings. Mitch Moreland’s two-run single in the fourth put Texas up and Mazara slammed a two-run homer to center to put the Rangers up 5-1.
Houston never recovered as the Rangers added two runs in the seventh and five more in the eighth inning. Texas has scored at least 10 runs in three straight games, tying the longest stretch in club history.
“It’s unbelievable,” said Mazara, who went 1-for-4 and scored twice. “You just go out there and you see the team we have, how we go about our business, the chemistry here is always there for us. We work hard every day and it’s something that makes you happy. We’re prepared and we go out there the right way and try to win ballgames.”
The beneficiary of Saturday’s offensive onslaught was Derek Holland (7-6), who notched his third straight quality start. He allowed two runs on six hits in six innings.
Holland walked three and worked around leadoff baserunners in four straight innings, but he didn’t have to be perfect.
“I wasn’t quite in sync,” he said. “After the second inning I got back into my rhythm for the most part. I just didn’t like the walks. I gave up too many and didn’t help the situation there, but overall I battled through everything and the defense made the plays for me.”
While the final was lopsided, Houston was in the game as it only trailed by three in the sixth inning.
Evan Gattis cut the Texas lead to 5-2 with a solo homer off Holland in the sixth. The Astros then loaded the bases against Texas reliever Keone Kela with one out in the seventh. But Kela got Carlos Correa to ground into an inning-ending double play and that turned out to be the final Houston threat.
“You’ve got to take advantage as much as you can,” said Houston manager A.J. Hinch, whose team was 3-for-10 with runners in scoring position and left eight runners on. “We didn’t do as good a job as they did of productive outs. We didn’t do as good a job with two-out hits. They hunted a lot of hits. They got a lot of hits.”
In the bottom of the frame, the Rangers added some insurance on a bloop single from Carlos Beltran in the seventh and a steal of home by Ian Desmond.
Musgrove tried to slow down the Rangers, but he was charged with five runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings.
“That’s a really good lineup with the power they have in the meat of their lineup,” Musgrove said. “I’ve got to do a better job of getting the (Nos.) 7-8-9 hitters out, and I think they got three or four or five knocks off me tonight. I’ve got to take advantage of that.”
Beltre went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and Robinson Chirinos also collected three hits. Desmond had a pair of hits, including a two-run single in the eighth. Five Texas players had two RBIs.
Gattis went 3-for-4 for the Astros, who finished with 11 hits.
NOTES: Texas Rangers C Jonathan Lucroy was scratched from Saturday’s lineup because of flu-like symptoms. ... United States gold-medal gymnast Madison Kocian threw out the first pitch before the game. ... Friday’s 10-8 victory marked the first time the Rangers used six relievers to win a nine-inning game since Sept. 27, 2014. ... Since Aug. 16 Houston Astros 3B Alex Bregman leads the American League in RBIs with 19. ... Yuli Gurriel drew his first professional start at first base for Houston Saturday. Gurriel took grounders at first for the first timeFriday and entered the game as a defensive replacement.