Rangers Fall into Third after Loss to Astros

Rangers Astros
(Photo by Tim Heitman/Getty Images)

Astros 13, Rangers 6

ARLINGTON, Tex. (Sep 4) — The Texas Rangers fell in their series opener against the Houston Astros, 13–6, in a Labor Day affair at Globe Life Field. A two-home run day by Corey Seager had Ranger fans on their feet, but it wasn’t enough to send them home happy. With this loss, the Rangers drop to third place in the AL West, right behind the Astros and Seattle Mariners. The Rangers will try to even this series on Tuesday evening. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm Central at Globe Life Field. Framber Valdez (10–9, 3.38 ERA) will get the ball for the Astros. The Rangers will send Nathan Eovaldi (11–3, 2.69 ERA), who is returning from a six-week stint on the Injured List, to the mound.

Back and Forth

As expected, there was an even split of Rangers fans and Astros fans. They all bought their tickets to witness a grudge match, and that is what they got. The Rangers scored right away in the bottom of the first. After a walk issued to Marcus Semien by Astros starter J.P. France, Seager hit his 27th home run of the year to right to give the Rangers a 2–0 lead.

Things stayed silent until the bottom of the third. It was then that the Rangers stretched it to 3–0. Adolis Garcia doubled to left and later scored on a single to center by Mitch Garver.

The Astros got on the board in the top of the fifth. Jeremy Peña plated Yainer Diaz on a single to right off Andrew Heaney.

Diaz reached on on a single that was originally called a force out, but the Astros challenged, and the call was overturned. Two batters later, the Astros tied it up on a two-run single by Alex Bregman that drove in Peña and Jose Altuve. This forced the Rangers to replace Heaney with Glenn Otto, who was able to get out of the inning.

The Rangers regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth on Seager’s second dinger of the afternoon. This one went over the wall in center.

The Astros quickly took a 5–4 lead in the bottom of the sixth on back-to-back homers by Mauricio Dubon and Altuve. The Rangers tied it 5–5 in the bottom of the sixth on a solo home run to left-center by Garver.

Aggressive Approach by Astros

In the top of the seventh, the Astros kicked open the flood gates. Rangers reliever Josh Sborz came in to relieve Otto. The Astros immediately loaded the bases on a walk to Yordan Alvarez and singles by Bregman and Kyle Tucker. Alvarez scored on a walk to Jose Abreu, and Tucker crossed the plate on a fielder’s choice hit into by Chas McCormick. They stretched the lead to 11–5 on a three-run clout to left-center by Yainer Diaz.

They stretched it to 13–5 in the top of the ninth on back-to-back homers by Dubon and Altuve off reliever Martin Perez.

The Rangers got one back in the bottom of the ninth. Josh H. Smith hit a solo shot to right-center off Astros reliever Ryne Stanek.

The nine home runs combined by both teams in this contest are a Globe Life Field record.

Pitching Notes

Heaney struggled for the Rangers on Sunday. He pitched 4 2/3 innings. Over that stretch he gave up three runs, all earned, on five hits. He also walked four and struck out one.

The positive takeaway from Heaney’s outing is that he took a no-decision. After giving up six runs, five earned, on five hits, Sborz took the losing decision for the Rangers. He owns a record of 5–7 with a ERA of 4.22.

On the other side, France did not factor into the decision for the sixth time out of his 20 starts. His line was 5 IP, 6 H, 5 R-ER, 3 BB, 5 K, 3 HR, 87 pitches/57 strikes. The three home runs that he allowed tie his career high. He also allowed three on May 17 against the Chicago Cubs. France has allowed eight total long balls in his last four starts combined. Former Ranger Rafael Montero got the win for the Astros. He is now 3–3, with an ERA of 5.06.

Postgame Comments

After the game, Rangers manager Bruce Bochy admitted that it can be challenging to deal with a bullpen when it feels like every reliever is struggling at once. “You try to ride the hot hand,” Bochy said. “It was just more bad luck, but there is some good news. We have Nate (Nathan Eovaldi) going for us tomorrow, and we’re very hopeful about him coming back.”

Bochy was also asked how he plans on addressing this loss with his team. He replied by saying, “I don’t think you address it. You just go out there tomorrow and try to get the next one. So many people forget that. Yes it is one game, but guess what? There’s a 62 right behind that one. We have 162 games on the schedule, and we’re going to play every single one of them. This thing is not over yet.”

 

 

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