Power Rangers ride 3 HRs to 6th straight win
ARLINGTON -- The Rangers, in their first game in September, scored seven runs in the fourth inning and opened their three-game series against the Astros by holding on for a 10-8 victory on Friday night at Globe Life Park. The Rangers have won six straight to open a 9 1/2-game lead over the Astros in the American League West with 27 left to play.
The Astros, with starter Doug Fister allowing eight runs (seven earned) in 3 2/3 innings, trailed, 10-3, after five innings before mounting a late comeback. They scored three in the seventh, and Tyler White added a two-run double in the eighth to make it 10-8.
But Rangers reliever Keone Kela, with two on and two out, retired Alex Bregman on a popup to short right field to end the inning, and Sam Dyson closed it out in the ninth for his 31st save.
"Kela got a huge out for us, and Dyson put it away," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "Our guys stayed engaged, put 10 runs on the board, did a great job offensively. It was one of those games both clubs fought hard. It wasn't pretty, but we got the job done."
The Astros, despite taking a 2-0 lead in the first inning, had a three-game winning streak snapped and have dropped to two games behind in the AL Wild Card race. They have lost 12 of 14 to the Rangers this season.
"Tale of a couple different games," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We jumped out early -- really happy with the top of the first, getting a lead. We knew they were going to come back at some point and put a fight up. They scored their couple runs and then exploded in the fourth. We couldn't keep the ball in the ballpark, couldn't keep the ball in the strike zone."
Rangers starter A.J. Griffin picked up his second straight victory by holding the Astros to three runs in 5 2/3 innings. He is now 7-3 with a 4.41 ERA in 19 starts, but the Rangers needed six relievers to finish this one.
Carlos Beltran, Rougned Odor and Jonathan Lucroy all hit home runs in the fourth inning for the Rangers. Odor's home run won the distance prize according to Statcast™, exiting at 107 miles per hour and traveling an estimated 433 feet. He has six home runs in his last 11 games and a club-leading 28 on the season.
"For me, I'm a contact hitter," Odor said. "I don't feel like I am a power hitter. If I hit a homer, I hit a homer, but I'm just trying to hit the ball hard."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
No bunt sparks rally: The Rangers fourth-inning rally started with leadoff singles by Mitch Moreland and Carlos Gomez. That brought up Elvis Andrus in a potential bunt situation in a tie game, but Banister had his No. 9 hitter swing away. Andrus ripped a double off the left-field wall to score Moreland, with Gomez stopping at third. Banister's decision to not play for one run led to a seven-run inning that included the three home runs. More >
Fister unravels in fourth: Fister had allowed two runs by the time he got two outs in the fourth. He would not record the final out of the inning, though, after giving up a pair of two-run homers to Beltran and Odor. Fister ended the night with a season-high 10 hits and eight runs (seven earned) allowed and a season-low 3 2/3 innings pitched. Things didn't get any easier for reliever Michael Feliz, who allowed a solo homer to Lucroy to cap the Rangers' seven-run inning.
"Clearly, tonight was not a good night," Fister said. "It was a night full of some big swings for them. ... I didn't do my job tonight and put our team in a pretty big hole. The positive out of it is our boys fought back. If you put up eight runs, you should win. I can't allow them to put up a seven-spot there in that inning."
Gomez has big hit against old team: The Rangers, trailing 2-0, had Lucroy at first and one out in the second. Gomez, facing the team that released him last month, lined a double into the gap in right-center. That gave the Rangers runners at second and third, and they both ended up scoring to tie the game on Bregman's throwing error off Andrus' grounder. Gomez went 2-for-3 with a walk and three runs scored in his first game against the Astros.
"I have been putting a lot of work on my hitting, and I have been able to take it into the game," Gomez said. "The last few games, things have been going the right way. That's what I was excited about. I'm concentrating on winning the game. There is nothing personal."
Bregman goes deep: It took Bregman 19 games to hit his first Major League home run, but he's hit six in 16 games since after hitting a solo shot to left field in the first inning. Bregman's homer traveled an estimated 417 feet and left his bat at 101 mph, per Statcast™. He added a two-run triple in the seventh to give him 19 RBIs over the 16-game span as well.
"He was having good at-bats even in his dry spell," Hinch said. "It's nice to watch him mature and learn. It's his first time through this league, first time he's in a pennant race and the first time he's facing a lot of these pitchers." More >
Astros: Right-hander Joe Musgrove will start at 3:05 p.m. CT on Saturday at Globe Life Park. He will be facing the Rangers for the first time since he made his first Major League start against them on Aug. 7, when he allowed one run on five hits through seven innings.
Rangers: Left-hander Derek Holland will be making his third start since coming off the disabled list on Saturday at 3:05 p.m. CT. Holland is 4-2 with a 4.31 ERA in 11 career starts against the Astros.
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Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas.