July 1, 2011 / 3:42 AM / 8 years ago

Astros' magic Wandy casts spell over Rangers

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Houston starter Wandy Rodriguez produced another sublime performance to shut down one of Major League Baseball’s top offenses and lift the struggling Astros to a 7-0 win over the Texas Rangers on Thursday.

Rodriguez (6-4) allowed just four hits over seven innings to earn his fourth win in five starts.

“Playing behind him tonight made it a lot of fun for us,” Houston shortstop Clint Barmes told reporters after combining to record three double plays in the field.

“If somebody got on base, he made his pitch and got a ground ball for us, and we were able to make a quick inning out of it and get back in and start hitting.”

Three Houston relievers combined to close out the final two innings as the MLB-worst Astros (29-53) snapped a five-game losing streak.

The American League West-leading Rangers (43-39) were looking to complete a three-game sweep over Houston, but could not solve Rodriguez as they were shut out for the first time since May 21.

Carlos Lee opened the scoring with a solo home run in the fourth inning, and Houston added four runs in the fifth against Texas starter Matt Harrison, who pitched six innings and took the loss.

Jason Michaels put the seal on the win with a two-run blast in the seventh, finishing 2-for-4 with three RBIs at the plate.

Elvis Andrus had two hits for the Rangers, who also beat the Astros 2-1 in a three-game home series last week.

“(The offense was) dead,” said Texas slugger Josh Hamilton who went hit-less. “It will be good to get home and get this straightened out. We still took two here.”

Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien; To comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com

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