Rangers Fall in Finale, Split Series with Astros.

Rangers Astros
(Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Astros 10, Rangers 5

ARLINGTON, Tex. (Apr 8) — The Texas Rangers had a rough night on Monday, losing to the Houston Astros, 10–5. Home runs by Yordan Alvarez and Victor Caratini went a long way in nailing the door shut on the Rangers in front of a crowd of 31,737. With the Astros leaving town to start a three-game series against the Kansas City Royals, the Rangers will play host to the Oakland Athletics for three. That series will begin on Tuesday evening at Globe Life Field, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 pm Central. The Athletics will sent lefty Alex Wood (0–1, 9.72 ERA) to the mound in the series opener, and the Rangers will counter with right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (1–0, 1.38 ERA).

High-Scoring First Inning

Both teams scored seven runs combined in the first inning on Monday. The Astros scored two in the top half off Rangers lefty Andrew Heaney. Jose Altuve led off the game with a fly out to second baseman Marcus Semien on the first pitch, leading every Rangers fan in the ballpark to exhale in unison. Alvarez followed with a single to center and advanced to second on a walk to Kyle Tucker. Alex Bregman sent Alvarez home with a single to center. Two batters later, Tucker crossed the dish thanks to a force out that was grounded into by Jeremy Peña.

The Rangers struck back right away, however, in the bottom of the first. Semien led off the inning with a walk issued by Astros starter Blair Henley. Corey Seager moved Semien to second with a base hit to center. Wyatt Langford sent Semien home with yet another single to center. On deck was Adolis Garcia, who hit an infield single to second, loading the bases. Henley issued another walk, this time to Evan Carter, to tie the game 2–2. He then hit Josh H. Smith with a pitch that brought in Langford from third. Moments later, Jared Walsh drove in Garcia and Carter with a single to left. A third walk in the inning to Leody Taveras signaled the end of Henley’s evening, as he was only able to record two outs in his major league debut. Seth Martinez was brought in to relieve him.

Waking the Sleeping Giant

From this point, the Astros bats regained consciousness. In the top of the second, Alvarez cut the lead to 5–4 with a two-run home run to right. Victor Caratini singled to right two batters prior. The Astros tied it 5–5 in the top of the fourth. Jose Abreu was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Altuve walked later in the inning, advancing Abreu to second. That forced manager Bruce Bochy out of his seat to take out Heaney, and he brought in Brock Burke. Burke promptly gave up a double to Alvarez. Tucker scored both Altuve and Alvarez with a single to center, making it 7–5 Astros. They made it 10–5 in the top of the fifth on a three-run homer to right-center by Caratini, his first of the year. Peña and Mauricio Dubon both reached on singles moments earlier.

What Went Right for the Astros

The Astros’ offense was on display in the finale. The home runs by Alvarez and Caratini came at a time when they were needed. Overall, the Astros haven’t gotten off to a great start this year, and perhaps this could be the turning point.

What went Wrong for the Astros

The Rangers came out swinging as soon as the bottom of the first got under way. They weren’t prepared for it. They didn’t count on using Henley, but they were forced to. Their original starter for this game was Framber Valdez, but he was a late scratch due to elbow soreness.

Pitching Notes

For the Rangers, Heaney took the loss after he permitted six runs, all earned, over 3 2/3 innings in his second start of the season. His line was 3 2/3 IP, 4 H, 6 R-ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 82 pitches/52 strikes). It was his most runs allowed in any start since 7/8/23 against the Washington Nationals (8 R-7 ER). Heaney surrendered multiple runs in the first, second, and fourth frames. The lone extra-base hit he allowed was a two-run shot by Alvarez in the second.

As for the Astros, they selected the contract of Blair Henley from Triple-A Sugar Land prior to Monday’s game and gave him the starting nod. In his major league debut, he was lifted after recording one out and facing nine batters (5 R-ER, 4 H, 3 BB, 0 K), but did not factor into the decision after Houston took a 7-5 lead in the fourth. The right-hander prepped at nearby Arlington Heights High School (Fort Worth), becoming the first attendee of that school to debut in the big leagues since Right-hander Tim Mauser on 7/7/91. Henley became the fifth native Texan to make his major league debut in a start at Globe Life Field since its 2020 opening and the third to do so as a visitor.

Seth Martinez got the win after pitching 3 2/3 scoreless innings on Monday.

Postgame Comments

After the game, Bochy gave his thoughts on the evening. He elaborated on Heaney’s performance. “He just worked hard”, Bochy said. “His pitch count caught up with him. He didn’t get the ball where he wanted with (Yordan) Alvarez. We had to give him break after throwing so many pitches. He wasn’t quite on top of his game tonight.”

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