Rangers Drop Series Opener to Astros

Rangers Astros
(Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images)

Astros 5, Rangers 3

ARLINGTON, Tex. (June 30) — The Texas Rangers lost their series opener to the Houston Astros, 5–3, on Friday night. A leadoff home run by Jose Altuve in the first inning went a long way toward helping the Astros in the first game of this four-game series. The Rangers will seek redemption in the second game, which will be Saturday afternoon at Globe Life Field. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 pm Central. Righty Hunter Brown (6–4, 3.62 ERA) will toe the rubber for the Astros. Nathan Eovaldi (9–3, 2.82 ERA) will get the ball for the Rangers.

Altuve Goes Deep

Amid a deafening chorus of boos, Altuve blasted the first pitch of the game to center off Rangers starter Jon Gray. This put the Astros on top 1–0 before most of the sellout crowd had a chance to settle into their seats. The Rangers, however, gave them something to cheer about when they tied it up in the bottom of the first. Marcus Semien scored on a 6–4–3 double-play groundout by Nathaniel Lowe. The game stayed knotted at 1–1 until the bottom of the fourth. The Rangers made it 3–1 in a matter of seconds when AL All-Stars Josh Jung and Jonah Heim hit back-to-back homers.

The Astros answered back in the top of the fifth. Chas McCormick crossed the plate on a 6–3 groundout by Altuve. The Astros added on in the top of the sixth. Mauricio Dubon plated Jose Abreu and Yainer Diaz with a double to left, making it 4–3 Astros. Two batters later, it became 5–3 when Jake Meyers brought Dubon home with a sacrifice fly to right.

Pitching Notes

Right-hander Jon Gray got the ball for the Rangers on Friday. Gray suffered his third loss in four starts after allowing five runs, all earned, over six innings. His final line was 7 H, 5 R-ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 97 pitches/64 strikes. Friday’s outing raised his season ERA from 2.89 to 3.21. This is the first time his ERA has been above the 3.00 mark since it was 3.02 after a start on May 20 against the Colorado Rockies. Friday marked his longest start since his complete game on June 7 against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Astros right-hander Ronel Blanco secured his second win of the season in his fifth start of the year. It was his 14th appearance overall. His line over six innings was 2 H, 3R-ER, 2 HR, 4 BB, 6 K, 88 pitches/55 strikes. Blanco has lasted at least five innings in all of his starts this season, giving up at least one home run in each and multiple homers in four consecutive games. The four walks that he allowed tied a career high. He also gave out four free passes on June 7 against the Toronto Blue Jays. Since being converted to a starter at the beginning of June, he owns a 2–0 record with a 4.82 ERA. Astros closer Ryan Pressly came in and pitched a perfect ninth inning. He struck out one and earned his 16th save of the season.

Postgame Comments

Rangers manager Bruce Bochy elaborated more on Jon Gray’s performance. He said, “Jon threw the ball well. Going into that sixth inning, he got ahead of the hitters, but they had three straight two-strike hits and that’s what led to the three-run inning there. But he had good stuff. So, give [the Astros] credit. They did a good piece of hitting with two strikes and that was the difference in the ballgame.”

Jon Gray also reflected on his start. “Not a start to feel good about,” Gray said. “It wasn’t good overall but, personally, I felt like the Astros did a great job on the inside tonight. I thought we made really good pitches, but they somehow found a way to get on base.”


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