Arihara hit hard as Rangers fall to Astros

September 16th, 2021

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers once again had a slow offensive night as they sat on the opposite end of another Astros' victory.

Texas ultimately fell, 7-2, to Houston at Globe Life Field on Wednesday night in the third game of the four-game set. Every game of this series has been won by five or more runs with the Astros taking the opener, 15-1, and the Rangers getting the second game, 8-1.

Rangers starter Kohei Arihara struggled through four-plus innings, giving up six runs on eight hits, including two homers. The right-hander faced three batters in the fifth inning, but gave up a single, hit-by-pitch and an RBI double before getting the hook.

In each of his three starts since coming off the injured list, Arihara has given up at least one home run.

Arihara said he felt like his weight distribution was off all game and he couldn’t get any force or power behind his fastball. He added that he may have gotten into his head too much, causing him to struggle with his mechanics.

“I thought the first two or three innings, his stuff actually looked decent and then in the fourth, everything didn't look as crisp,” said manager Chris Woodward. “He made some mistakes mechanically. ... He's still trying to figure it out, getting back healthy. He's gonna have his ups and downs. He's going to work on some stuff, and hopefully get back to normal.”

After a hot offensive day during the previous game, the Rangers struggled at the plate on Wednesday. José Urquidy shut Texas down, tossing six innings of one-run ball while allowing just two hits.

The Rangers’ first run came courtesy of a Yonny Hernandez RBI groundout to follow a leadoff triple from Brock Holt in the third inning. Both Holt and Willie Calhoun notched hits in their first starts since coming off the injured list.

Texas added to its run total in the bottom of the ninth with a leadoff double from Calhoun and RBI groundout from Nathaniel Lowe.

“Offensively, Urquidy was really good,” Woodward said. “He makes pitches, he's got a good changeup and a lot of life on the fastball. We expanded on him, and it’s something we talked about that we couldn't do. We had a chance to kind of punch him in the face early and we missed that opportunity and they punched us right back right after that. So we were playing from behind right from the beginning.”

When looking for silver linings in the loss, Woodward pointed to Calhoun, who went 2-for-4 in his first game since coming off the injured list. Woodward said it was especially encouraging with Calhoun coming off surgery for a forearm fracture and missing two and a half months of the season.

“I know we got beat, but it's nice to see Willie get a couple of hits there, especially the way that last ball came off his bat [for a double] to left-center,” Woodward said. “It’s a good thing moving forward.”

Calhoun said before the game that he felt as close to 100 percent as possible. He spent a week on a rehab assignment in Arizona before heading to Triple-A Round Rock to finish it off.

Woodward said he could tell Calhoun had some nerves during his first at-bat, which resulted in a swinging strikeout, but he was able to settle in later in the game.

“In his last at-bat, he took some really good pitches to get to that 3-1 count,” Woodward said. “Then he jumped on the fastball [and doubled]. That's one thing Willie's always been able to do is hit a fastball and sometimes it's taking those changeups and sliders down to get himself in a fastball count. That's exactly what he did in his last at-bat which is nice to see.”