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Astros leave St. Pete with a win, flight home

August 31, 2017

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Astros picked up a 5-1 win over the Rangers in their temporary home of Tropicana Field on Thursday. Now they can head back to their real home in Houston for the first time since Hurricane Harvey."Good win," Carlos Beltran said. "The most important thing is that

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Astros picked up a 5-1 win over the Rangers in their temporary home of Tropicana Field on Thursday. Now they can head back to their real home in Houston for the first time since Hurricane Harvey.
"Good win," Carlos Beltran said. "The most important thing is that we're going home and we're going to have a chance to be with our families, hopefully bring a little bit of joy to the city. A lot of people are going through tough times."
Victims receiving donations from across MLB
After its bullpen held a one-run lead for 3 1/3 innings, Houston added three insurance runs in the eighth. Derek Fisher, inserted in the lineup in the seventh inning to replace the injured Beltran, hit a two-run single down the third base line to make it 5-1.

"It's a big win for us," said manager A.J. Hinch, who was ejected in the first inning for arguing an interference call. "We played hard, we played well, the bullpen was exceptional. I got to watch it on TV. It's a nice feeling to get a win. We haven't been playing our best in this series, and now we get on a plane and get to go home. That's the best news of the day."

Texas scored in the opening frame, with Shin-Soo Choo coming home on Nomar Mazara's groundout to first. Choo had singled to open the game and moved to third on a passed ball and then a wild pitch.
The Astros quickly responded in the inning's bottom half, as Jose Altuve skied his 21st home run of the year off the C-ring catwalk supporting the dome's roof to knot the score. Houston would pull ahead three innings later, as Josh Reddick lined a single into right field to score Alex Bregman from second.

Dropping the series finale, the Rangers fell to a game below .500 and four games back of the Twins for the second American League Wild Card spot. The Astros have an 11 1/2-game lead over the Angels in the AL West.
Ump ejects Hinch, Altuve ejects a baseball:George Springer took off for second base on a full-count pitch from Martinez, which Bregman whiffed on. Springer slid in safely, but he was called out for batter's interference, prompting an argument between Hinch and second-base umpire Joe West that led to the skipper's ejection. The bases suddenly empty, Altuve hit a home run off the Tropicana Field C-ring, a solo shot to tie the game rather than a two-run blast.

Steal stands, then run scores: Bregman's steal of second base in the fourth was challenged by the Rangers, but the call on the field stood. Having moved safely into scoring position, Bregman was able to score the go-ahead run on Reddick's single to right field.

"We came in here … we're not giving in. We're trying to fight for that Wild Card, and coming to a series like this, to take two from that team is a win for us."-- Rangers starter Nick Martinez, on the series win over the Astros
Chris Devenski pitched 2 2/3 hitless innings, the 13th time in his career he's exceeded two innings without a hit. He leads all Major Leaguers in such performances since 2016.

The Rangers challenged that Bregman stole second base safely in the fourth inning. Bregman took off on a 3-1 pitch to Reddick for his 15th swipe of the year, which stood after a delay of 1 minute and 55 seconds.
Beltran exited in the seventh inning after he was hit on the right foot by Jose Leclerc's pitch. The fastball caught Beltran around the top of his ankle, near the edge of his shin guard. Fisher replaced him as a pinch-runner and remained in the game as a designated hitter.

"It hit below my ankle," Beltran said. "They did X-rays, and everything is good. I'm just sore right now, but I'll be OK."
Two batters later, Adrian Beltre also exited after straining his left hamstring. The third baseman ranged toward the mound to field J.D. Davis' roller and started to throw, but his legs buckled and he held on to the ball instead. Trainers came out to check on him, and he immediately came out of the game walking cautiously under his own power. He wlil have an MRI exam Friday. More >

Rangers: After 10 games on the road, the Rangers return home to Texas for the first time since Hurricane Harvey struck Houston. The Rangers play the Angels on Friday at Globe Life Park at 7:05 p.m. CT, with 10 percent of ticket sales, concessions and merchandise being donated to hurricane relief efforts. Cole Hamels (9-2, 3.78 ERA) pitches on an extra day of rest after Oakland collected nine hits and six runs off the lefty in 4 1/3 innings in his last start.
Astros: The Astros return to Houston on Thursday night, their first trip home since Hurricane Harvey devastated the city. Following an off-day Friday, the Astros will host the Mets in a split doubleheader (1:10 p.m. and 7:10 p.m. CT) on Saturday, the first games at Minute Maid Park since the storm hit the area. Charlie Morton (10-6, 3.88 ERA) is slated to pitch the first game, with Brad Peacock (10-2, 3.12 ERA) going in the nightcap.
Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Connor Mount is a reporter for based in St. Petersburg who covered the Rangers on Thursday.

Mark Feinsand is an executive reporter for and covered the Astros on Thursday.