Rangers Rally, but Come Up Short against Astros

Rangers Astros
(Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

Astros 3, Rangers 1

ARLINGTON, Tex. (Apr 7) — The Texas Rangers lost a close one to the Houston Astros, 3–1, Sunday night. A three-run homer by Yordan Alvarez did all of the damage for the Astros, as they notched their third victory of the season. The Rangers will go for the series win in the finale of this four-game set on Monday evening at Globe Life Field. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm Central. The Rangers will send left-hander Andrew Heaney (0–1, 1.93 ERA) to the mound, and the Astros will give the ball to righty Blair Henley.

Alvarez Breaks Seal

The game stayed scoreless until the top of the third. After striking out Jeremy Peña to start the frame, Rangers starter Dane Dunning handed out consecutive free passes to Jake Meyers and Jose Altuve. On deck was the man that Rangers fans didn’t want to see in this situation, Yordan Alvarez. Several blood-curdling screams were heard as Alvarez belted a three-run shot to right to give the Astros a 3–0 lead. The Rangers put together a small rally in the bottom of the ninth off Astros closer Josh Hader, who came in to relieve Ryan Pressly.

Wyatt Langford flied to left to start the inning, bringing up Adolis Garcia. After walking Garcia, Justin Foscue came in as a pinch-hitter for Evan Carter. A wild pitch advanced Garcia to second. Moments later, Foscue singled to center, allowing Garcia to sprint home. The single marked the first hit and the first RBI of Foscue’s major league career.

What Went Right for the Astros

Things started clicking for the Astros in the third. They were able to capitalize on the walks to Meyers and Altuve with the home run by Alvarez.

What Went Wrong for the Astros

The wild pitch by Hader and RBI single by Foscue momentarily halted the Astros’ postgame handshake line, but they held on to their slim lead to avoid their third loss in the series.

Dunning Hits the Century Mark

Rangers starter Dane Dunning made his second start of the season and 100th appearance of his career Sunday. It was his 88th start. He took the loss with a line of 6 2/3 IP, 4 H, 3 R-ER, 3 BB, 7 K, HR, 97 pitches/63 strikes, despite pitching into the 7th inning and recording his second quality start in as many outings. Sunday marked his 16th career start at Globe Life Field. It tied Martín Pérez for the most all-time at this ballpark, which opened in 2020. Dunning compiled seven strikeouts, pairing with his last start on April 1 against the Tampa Bay Rays to post 7+ strikeouts in consecutive outings for the second time in his career (also 8/19–30/2020 as a member of the Chicago White Sox – 7 K each). Four of his seven strikeouts were looking, falling one shy of his career high of five strikeouts looking.

Dunning remained in the game after taking a 108-mph Chas McCormick line drive off his right heel in the second, which resulted in a 1-5-3 groundout. He allowed his first hit on the homer by Alvarez. He exited with two outs in the seventh and a bequeathed runner on first (Jeremy Peña), who was ultimately stranded when reliever Grant Anderson struck out Altuve to end the threat.

Blanco Holds Rangers Hitless through Five

Astros starter Ronel Blanco surrendered one hit over six scoreless innings in his second start of the season, earning the win. His line was 6 IP, 1 H,  0 R, 4 BB, 4 K, 90 pitches/54 strikes. He held the Rangers hitless (0-for-15, 4 BB) over his first five frames before surrendering a two-out single to García in the bottom of the 6th. This made for 14 consecutive hitless innings to open the 2024 campaign after throwing the 17th no-hitter in Astros franchise history in his season debut on Monday against the Toronto Blue Jays. Blanco has held opposing batters 1-for-46 (.022) with 11 strikeouts and six walks over his first two starts of the season. According to Stathead, he is the first pitcher in the Modern Era (beg. 1901) to log 15+ innings and allow one or fewer hits over his first two outings of a campaign.

Postgame Comments

Rangers manager Bruce Bochy gave his thoughts on his team’s struggles. He also gave an update on reliever Josh Sborz, who was placed on the 15-day IL before the game with a right rotator cuff strain. “We just couldn’t get much going.” Bochy said. “We had the one inning where we had a couple of walks and had some good hitters up there, but you’re going to get shut down occasionally, and that’s what happened.”

As far as Sborz is concerned, Bochy said “I say he’ll return in the 15 days. We think he’ll be ready when his time on the list is up. We could have stalled a little bit, but we’re in a nice little run here on consecutive games. You don’t want to rush him, especially this early in the season. This will give him a chance to rest up and get this thing behind him.”

 

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