HOUSTON -- The Rangers' original plan was to have Cole Hamels face Justin Verlander on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, but that was before Friday's trade of Hamels to the Cubs scrapped the matchup of two All-Star starting pitchers.
The Rangers instead called up rookie right-hander Ariel Jurado from Double-A Frisco to make his second Major League start. The 22-year-old did just fine.
Jurado held the Astros to just one run on two hits over six innings and earned his first Major League win with a 7-3 victory over the Astros. The Rangers hit four home runs, including two by Rougned Odor and one each by Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Joey Gallo.
"I am sure there are a lot of people [that] had us underneath in this one," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "What we always liked about Jurado is he always kept his emotions in check. He looked like a pitcher who was in control with everything he was doing. Guy with a slow heartbeat, and he showed it tonight. It was fun to watch him go out there and pitch and compete."
Jurado's first Major League start was on May 19 against the White Sox, and he allowed four runs in 4 2/3 innings. All four runs came in the third inning when Jurado started getting his two-seamer up. This time, he was able to make quick adjustments and never ran into serious trouble.
"I made the adjustment I wasn't able to make in the other outing," Jurado said. "That's why I was able to have a better outing. I made my adjustment and kept the ball low. I knew it was going to be a tough one. But everyone is human, and I was trying to do my job and get the win."
Jurado is the youngest Rangers pitcher to allow two hits or fewer in a start since 20-year-old Edwin Correa held the Yankees to two hits over 7 2/3 innings on April 28, 1987. The only run Jurado allowed was on a home run by George Springer leading off the fourth after Jurado retired the first nine batters he faced.
"The first time through the order, we hit a lot of ground balls," Hinch said. "We couldn't get the ball in the air, and he continued to be pretty effective moving the ball around a little bit, and he had essentially two pitches -- fastball, slider. His fastball moves a little bit, and he had a little bit of velocity. When you don't piece at-bats together successfully, the momentum shifts a little bit to the pitcher. He settled in and threw strikes and kept the ball on the ground."
Jurado threw 76 pitches and 56 were the two-seam fastball, mixing in the slider and changeup only occasionally. He walked one and struck out two.
"Very solid outing for a young guy," Banister said. "A lot of confidence, stayed with his game plan. He didn't look like a young guy on the mound. He looked like a guy who has been around a long time. Very confident in this atmosphere against a very good baseball team."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The score was 1-1 when Odor came up with one out in the fifth against Verlander. He hit one to deep-right-center field, and Springer missed making a leaping catch. The ball caromed off at an angle and rolled toward dead center. That allowed Odor to race around the bases for an inside-the-park home run.
"I thought I hit the ball out," Odor said. "But when I saw Springer running hard, I started running hard, too. I saw the ball hit the wall, and I said, 'I am going home.'"
Odor hit another home run in the seventh off Thomas Pressly, this one landing in the right-field bleachers and added a double in the ninth off Hector Rondon. It was the ninth two-homer game of his career, and he finished with a career-high five hits.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Kiner-Falefa gave the Rangers an early lead with his second home run in two nights -- a two-out solo homer in the second inning off Verlander. Kiner-Falefa came into the series without a home run in 55 straight games before going deep on Friday.
"It was nice for Kiner to hit a home run early, get us on the board and [give] this offense a boost," Banister said.
HE SAID IT
"It's something every pitcher wants in the Majors, Thank God I got it quick." -- Jurado, on his first Major League win
GALLO'S SPECTACULAR BLAST
Gallo hit a three-run home run in the top of the ninth to give the Rangers a 7-1 lead. The exit velocity was 116.5 miles per hour, his third hardest-hit home run of the season. He has 15 home runs with an exit velocity of 110 miles per hour or greater, the most in the Major Leagues.
Left-hander Mike Minor pitches against the Astros at 1:10 p.m. CT on Sunday at Minute Maid Park. Minor is 0-2 with a 5.68 ERA in his last four starts and 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in four starts against the Astros this year. Minor is 2-4 with a 7.04 ERA in eight road starts. The all-time highest road ERA among qualifying pitchers is Rick Helling, who had a 6.82 ERA in 16 starts in 2001. Right-hander Lance McCullers takes the mound for the Astros.