Rangers snap Astros' 10-game winning streak
HOUSTON -- Robinson Chirinos scored Adrian Beltre on a sacrifice fly to center field in the ninth inning that broke a tie and sent the Rangers to a 2-1 win Monday night at Minute Maid Park, breaking the Astros' 10-game winning streak. It was their first loss of the season in any game in which they had the lead.
Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel carried a shutout into the eighth inning before giving up an RBI single to Jake Smolinski, who scored Delino DeShields from second base shortly after DeShields stole second base on a pitch in the dirt. Keuchel held the Rangers to five hits and one run while striking out eight in eight innings for his 13th consecutive quality start.
Rangers left-hander Ross Detwiler took a no-decision after holding the Astros to four hits and one run while striking out seven in seven innings. He walked Jose Altuve to start the bottom of the first inning, and Altuve went to second on a wild pitch and took third on a stolen base before coming home on a sacrifice fly by Evan Gattis.
"We just couldn't get anything started," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "We scored in the first without a hit and we never really got anything started after that. [Detwiler] did a good job of keeping one runner on base. Any time a guy got on base, it was really just one runner stranded."
Rookie right-hander Keone Kela, taking on a more prominent role in the Rangers' bullpen, pitched a scoreless eighth to get his second win of the season. Neftali Feliz pitched the ninth for his third save and first since April 17.
"One of those you draw up in the dirt as it goes," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "It was a pitching victory with some timely hitting."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Walk proves costly: Keuchel's first walk of the game couldn't have come at a worse time. He walked the speedy DeShields with one out in the eighth, and then watched him steal second base on a pitch in the dirt. DeShields was actually caught off first base on the pitch, but by the time Astros catcher Hank Conger threw to first to try to get him out, the speedster was on his way to second base. More >
"That's one of those things where if I think about pump-faking, I mean he's so fast he can get back," Conger said. "As soon as I saw him shuffle off, I just gave it up, and he let his natural ability just kind of take over."
Smolinski ends RISP agony: The Rangers were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position when Smolinski came to the plate with a runner on second and one out in the eighth. They also had just 12 hits in their last 77 at-bats in those situations. Smolinski reversed the trend with a single to center. The Rangers stranded Smolinski, but the game was tied. They moved ahead in the ninth when Beltre led off with a double, moved to third on a single by Kyle Blanks and scored on Chirinos' sacrifice fly.
Springer makes incredible catch: Astros right fielder George Springer made his second amazing catch against the Rangers this year in the sixth inning when he slid on his back as he crossed the foul line to snag a ball off the bat of Smolinski, hitting the wall only moments after he caught the ball. More >
"I didn't see it live," said Hinch, who was obscured by the right-field seats. "I couldn't see around the bend. I saw it on the video board. That was a terrific play. Add that to the highlight reel of outfield catches we've made this year."
Rangers turn dazzling DP: The Rangers want to get better defensively, and they dazzled with one out and a runner on first in the fifth. Altuve hit a grounder up the middle and shortstop Elvis Andrus made a diving stop to his left. He then flipped the ball with his glove to second baseman Adam Rosales, who turned a quick throw to first to complete the double play.
According to Statcast™, Andrus' reaction time was nearly instantaneous at .016 seconds, and Rosales' release time on the turn was 0.52 seconds. The ball left Altuve's bat with an exit velocity of 100.2 mph, which led to him getting a slightly slow start out of the box. Although he reached a top speed of 19.6 mph, it took him 4.4 seconds to get to first base after point of contact.
"We try to win 'em all, but we don't. That's the nature of the game. We've been playing good so there's no need to hang our heads. Everybody's been hitting the ball well, been throwing the ball well. We're going to go out there tomorrow and see what happens." -- Astros pitcher Chad Qualls
"It was a huge win for the team. Everybody was talking about their 10-game winning streak. It was nice to put an end to that and get a win." -- Detwiler
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Keuchel's 13 consecutive quality starts is the longest streak by an Astros pitcher since Wandy Rodriguez had 13 in a row from July 25-Sept. 28, 2010.
REVIEW UPHOLDS TERRIFIC PLAY BY ALTUVE
Altuve made a terrific barehanded play in the fifth that was confirmed by replay. Rosales hit a chopper up the middle that deflected off Keuchel's glove. It bounded over to Altuve, who grabbed the ball with his bare hand on the run and threw to first for the out. The throw barely beat Rosales and the Rangers challenged, but the call was confirmed on review.
Rangers: Rodriguez goes against his former team when he starts against the Astros at 7:10 p.m. CT on Tuesday. The lefty pitched for the Astros from 2005-12, and he is 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two career starts against them.
Astros: Right-hander Scott Feldman tries for his fifth quality start in six outings this season when he gets the ball on Tuesday at Minute Maid Park. Feldman has quality starts in 11 of his last 12 appearances since Aug. 20, 2014, posting a 2.84 ERA in that stretch.