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Gallardo delivers as Rangers rout Astros

Righty goes 5 1/3 scoreless while offense clubs 3 HRs
MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

HOUSTON -- Rangers starter Yovani Gallardo has an 11 1/3 scoreless innings streak and two straight victories over first-place teams.

Gallardo held the Astros scoreless for 5 1/3 and the Rangers went on to an 11-2 victory on Friday night at Minute Maid Park. The Rangers have won just two of eight games since the All-Star break and Gallardo has both wins. The last time he had back-to-back scoreless starts was Aug. 22-27, 2015, during his first tour with the Rangers.

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HOUSTON -- Rangers starter Yovani Gallardo has an 11 1/3 scoreless innings streak and two straight victories over first-place teams.

Gallardo held the Astros scoreless for 5 1/3 and the Rangers went on to an 11-2 victory on Friday night at Minute Maid Park. The Rangers have won just two of eight games since the All-Star break and Gallardo has both wins. The last time he had back-to-back scoreless starts was Aug. 22-27, 2015, during his first tour with the Rangers.

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"Masterful job by Yo," manager Jeff Banister said. "Just a good solid mix, the ability to command the fastball, the soft curve and the changeup. Hitters aren't able to key on one pitch or one side of the plate. The biggest thing tonight is we got a really solid start by our starter."

Gallardo threw six scoreless innings in a 5-0 victory over the Indians on Sunday, and he is now 5-1 with a 4.81 ERA in seven starts since being called up from Triple-A Round Rock. The Rangers have been trying to cobble and hold together a rotation all season and Gallardo needs a place to help revive his career since being outrighted by the Reds early in the season.

Video: TEX@HOU: Banister, Gallardo on 11-2 win over Astros

"I just wanted to feed off the last start and pound the strike zone," Gallardo said. "Very encouraging, I still feel I can go out there and still do it … get the job done."

Gallardo, who is from Fort Worth, Texas, refused that assignment and is starting to show renewed life with his hometown team. Gallardo was a 13-game winner for the Rangers' American League West-winning team in 2015, and now he is trying to show he can be more than a stopgap measure for a club still in great need for starting pitching.

"The last few years haven't gone my way," Gallardo said. "I came into this year wanting to go up there and show what I can do. Take the ball and attack the zone, that is one of the things that has helped me since I got here. The one thing is I have to do is limit the walks. If I get ahead and pound the strike zone, everything will work out. I'm feeling comfortable with myself and not putting any pressure on myself."

Video: TEX@HOU: Chirinos demolishes a 2-run homer to left

Gallardo, mixing his fastball well with two breaking pitches and a changeup, allowed two hits, walked four and struck out five. He outpitched Astros left-hander Dallas Keuchel, who had won four straight starts with a 0.98 ERA before allowing three runs in five innings. The big hit was a two-run home run by Robinson Chirinos in the fifth, his 14th dinger of the year, that gave the Rangers a 3-0 lead.

Gallardo, leading 5-0, did walk two with one out in the sixth. But Cory Gearrin took over and got Yuli Gurriel to ground into an inning-ending double play.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Chirinos led off the second with a double against Keuchel, and a one-out infield single by Isiah Kiner-Falefa put runners at the corners. Carlos Tocci followed with a squeeze bunt and Keuchel went home after fielding it. But Chirinos slid in ahead of the tag for the game's first run.

Video: TEX@HOU: Chirinos scampers in on Tocci's squeeze bunt

"To put a run across early, when we do that, it gives the opportunity to do different things early," Banister said.

KINER-FALEFA STEPS IN BIG
Kiner-Falefa was a late addition to the Rangers' lineup when Ryan Rua was scratched because of back spasms. Kiner-Falefa, starting at third base, responded with a four-hit night, including an eighth-inning home run off Cionel Perez. It was his third four-hit game of the season.

Video: TEX@HOU: Kiner-Falefa cranks home run in 4-hit game

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Chirinos saw five straight fastballs from Keuchel with one on and two out in the fifth. Chirinos, on a 2-2 count, hit the last one over the left-field wall for a two-run home run. Chirinos was 4-for-27 in his career against Keuchel prior to Friday's game.

HE SAID IT
"He looked very similar to what we saw in video and what the scouts said. He was able to record three outs. I'm sure we'll get a lot more looks, but we're good with what we saw tonight." -- Banister, on reliever Eddie Butler, who pitched his first game for the Rangers on Friday

Video: TEX@HOU: Butler hurls scoreless 8th in Rangers debut

UP NEXT
Right-hander Ariel Jurado will be recalled from Double-A Frisco to make his second Major League start at 6:10 p.m. CT on Saturday against the Astros at Minute Maid Park. He will go up against All-Star right-hander Justin Verlander. Jurado's first start came against the White Sox on May 19, when he allowed four runs over 4 2/3 innings in a 5-3 loss. He was 5-3 with a 3.28 ERA in 16 starts at Frisco.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers, Robinson Chirinos, Yovani Gallardo, Isiah Kiner-Falefa