HOUSTON -- The Astros clubbed a season-high four homers to back right-hander Charlie Morton and roared to their fourth consecutive win, 10-1, over the Rangers on Wednesday night at Minute Maid Park.
Carlos Correa (4-for-5) and Brian McCann homered in a four-run second inning, and Marwin Gonzalez hit a two-run shot to key a four-run sixth that enabled the Astros to take an 8-1 lead. The homer was the fifth in the last five games for Gonzalez, who blasted a pair on Tuesday night. Josh Reddick hit a two-run homer in the eighth.
The Astros, who have the Majors' best record at 19-9, will be seeking the franchise's first sweep of the Rangers in Houston on Thursday afternoon.
"When you can kick-start some scoring early, you have a chance to do some things playing from ahead," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We had tremendous at-bats in the second inning that as a whole, I think, set the tone for a nice night. ... Correa, obviously, being the first one."
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Most of the damage was done against Rangers starter Nick Martinez (0-1), who allowed seven runs (six earned) in 5 1/3 innings. Morton (3-2) held the Rangers to one run and five hits and struck out eight batters in six innings.
"It's just good to win the series," Astros outfielder George Springer said. "They've beaten us pretty good over the last three years, but that's in the past. To come out today, it was a great win. The staff threw great again today. It's a good series win for us."
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The Rangers tried to shake up their lineup, but it didn't help as they had just five hits and 13 strikeouts. It's the fourth straight game the Rangers have struck out at least 10 times. Joey Gallo moved into the cleanup spot and struck out three times. The Rangers replaced him at third base with Pete Kozma in the bottom of the seventh.
"We just need some momentum," Rangers catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. "We need a stopper to get on the mound and shut it down for us. We can score some runs and stay on top that way. We have to play better all around. We got to hit better, we got to play defense better, we got to pitch better. It's not just one-sided here, it's all different aspects. We made three errors tonight, so we have to throw strikes and make the plays, and we've got to hit."
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MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Correa gets Astros started: Correa's third homer of the season -- and first since April 23 at the Rays -- got the offense going for the Astros to lead off the second inning. McCann homered two batters later, and the Astros were off and running. It was the second career four-hit game for Correa, who went 4-for-5 against the Yankees on April 16, 2016. More >
"I've been making big strides lately and feeling a lot better and been more consistent with it," Correa said. "Today was a great day, and I need to go back tomorrow and do it again."
Baserunning costs Rangers: The Rangers, trailing 4-1, had two runners thrown out on the bases in the fifth and sixth innings. Mike Napoli was thrown out at home plate by left fielder Norichika Aoki trying to score on Delino DeShields fly ball in the fifth. Rougned Odor led off the sixth with a single but was thrown out by McCann trying to steal second base.
"We put the hit-and-run on, and the ball was up in his face," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "[Elvis Andrus] didn't get a chance to put the ball in play. We are trying to create offense, and those things happen when you don't score runs. They are amplified when you don't put runners on base."
"That's fine. I'm all right with that. I don't care if he hits eight tomorrow. Man, it's been something special to watch him over the last five or six games. I hope he hits more." -- Springer, on Gonzalez passing him for the team lead in homers (eight)
"A strikeout is a strikeout. There is no good strikeout, no bad strikeout or mediocre strikeout. They are all strikeouts. We've got to do a better job." -- Banister
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The Astros struck out just once. That's the first time since Sept. 1, 2010, against St. Louis, that they did not strike out more than one time.
Rangers: Right-hander A.J. Griffin is expected to come off the disabled list and pitch against the Astros on Thursday at Minute Maid Park. The Rangers are trying to avoid getting swept in Houston for the first time in club history.
Astros: Right-hander Joe Musgrove gets the start for the Astros in Thursday's 1:10 p.m. CT series finale against the Rangers at Minute Maid Park. Musgrove (1-2, 4.68 ERA) gave up one run on a solo homer in 6 1/3 innings in his last start, Saturday against the A's.
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