ARLINGTON -- The Astros finally got over the hump against the Rangers, getting another quality start from veteran right-hander Doug Fister and a tiebreaking two-run double by Jose Altuve in the seventh inning to beat Texas for the first time in nine tries this season with a 3-1 win on
ARLINGTON -- The Astros finally got over the hump against the Rangers, getting another quality start from veteran right-hander Doug Fister and a tiebreaking two-run double by Jose Altuve in the seventh inning to beat Texas for the first time in nine tries this season with a 3-1 win on Wednesday night at Globe Life Park.
The loss snapped the Rangers' 12-game winning streak against the Astros in Arlington, which dated back to April 12, 2015; it was only the Astros' third win against their Lone Star rivals in their last 19 meetings.
"These games here, they're crazy," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "Obviously, we know it can be done now in this ballpark, so it's a good win for us. A lot of guys did well, from the first hitter all the way to Will Harris at the end closing the door. It was a good team. A lot of guys did a lot of good things."
The seventh-inning rally against Rangers reliever Tom Wilhelmsen made a winner out of Fister (6-3), who held the Rangers to one run and seven hits in six innings. Houston has won each of Fister's last eight starts; he is 5-0 since the beginning of May.
"A lot of it [is just] keeping the ball down," Fister said. "I've struggled with that in the past, and that's kind of been a focus in the [bullpen sessions] and especially executing in the game. But having the defense that we do, that allows me to go ahead and pitch down and try and get those ground balls and really let those guys run them down."
Rangers starter Yu Darvish left the game after five innings and 76 pitches after feeling tightness in his right shoulder, though an examination showed no problems with the shoulder. He allowed one run and three hits in his third start since returning from Tommy John surgery.
"Any time a player comes off the field, there is concern. I'm not going to overplay it or underplay it in any one direction until we get re-evaluation," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "We just brought him off the field, we just got off the field after the game. We'll sit down with the medical staff and talk to them and see where we're at."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Darvish leaves early: After striking out Springer with a curveball in the fifth, Darvish began shaking out his right arm. Then, after he'd walked Altuve, Rangers' athletic trainer Kevin Harmon visited the mound, but Darvish remained in the game to get Carlos Correa to fly out to end the inning. Darvish was removed after that for precautionary reasons due to stiffness in his right shoulder. Rangers' team physician Dr. Keith Meister did not believe the injury to be serious following an examination.
"At the end of the fourth inning, I started feeling the tightness, but more in the neck area. Then when I went back for the fifth inning, I started feeling the [stiffness] a little bit," Darvish said. "I believe I could play catch tomorrow, no problem." More >
Neshek, Harris gets big outs: Astros reliever Pat Neshek, who's been used as sort of a right-handed specialist, faced one batter in the eighth inning but got two big outs. He got Elvis Andrus to bounce into a 5-4-3 double play to end the eighth, providing a huge lift, and Will Harris took a turn at closer and posted his 26th consecutive scoreless outing.
"Fister threw a heck of a game today, so it would be a shame to spoil the effort that he gave," Harris said. "He's been throwing really well the last month or so, and we've been winning a lot of the games he's been starting. We came today with a lot of confidence. We like it when Doug pitches, we play good defense behind him, and we were able to score a couple of runs later that were the difference." More >
Beltre leaves, too: The Rangers lost another key member when Adrian Beltre exited the game in the eighth inning with tightness in his left hamstring. Beltre reached base on a fielder's choice and grabbed the hamstring after rounding second base following a single from Prince Fielder. Beltre was escorted to the dugout by Harmon, and Jurickson Profar pinch-ran for him. Beltre will be re-evaluated on Thursday, and will not play in the series finale, as it was already a scheduled off-day for him.
"Similar thing [to Darvish]. A little tightness and precautionary [exit]," Banister said. "I trust what Adrian says when it comes to his body. He knows his body better than anybody else. So it's best to get him off the diamond any time something like that goes on." More >
Altuve comes through: After going 0-for-3 on Tuesday to snap his 12-game hitting streak, three-time All-Star Altuve delivered for the Astros. His clutch hit came after Gonzalez led off the seventh with a single and Springer followed one out later with a single to right. Altuve was thrown out between second and third, but he got the job done.
"We try to not pay attention to the noise about the way we play against the Rangers," Altuve said. "This is a win like any other one. Wins are always important. At the end of the day, no matter who you're playing, you've got to get the win."
Astros: Right-hander Collin McHugh (5-4, 4.97 ERA) gets the start in Thursday's 1:05 p.m. CT series finale at Globe Life Park. He is 4-0 with a 3.99 ERA in five career starts against the Rangers.
Rangers: Left-hander Martin Perez (4-4, 3.24 ERA) will take the mound for the finale at 1:05 p.m. CT on Thursday at Globe Life Park. He will be looking for his fourth win in four starts.
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Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.
Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Texas.