Wine not? Rangers snap skid vs. AL leaders

September 7th, 2022

HOUSTON -- On Tuesday afternoon, Rangers interim manager Tony Beasley had two bottles of Baker Family Wines sitting on his desk in the visiting manager’s office at Minute Maid Park, gifted to him by Astros manager Dusty Baker.

Beasley joked with Baker during batting practice that his club would beat Baker's, and he would drink his wine in celebration afterwards.

In Beasley’s office postgame, the bottle of Baker Family sauvignon blanc sat empty on his desk after the Rangers beat the Astros, 4-3, to snap a season-high nine-game losing skid and notch just the third win in Houston this season.

“Yeah, it’s empty,” Beasley said with a smile postgame. “We can celebrate that the losing streak is behind us and hopefully, we can start a winning streak. ... We were able to put together a good ballgame tonight. We got the lead early, and we weren’t able to hold onto the lead, but we kept things at bay.”

Tuesday night’s win didn’t come easy, as it never has for the Rangers in Houston. Astros starter Framber Valdez tossed 6 2/3 innings and extended his quality starts streak to 23 games, but Texas was able to scratch and claw all four runs (two earned) against the lefty to secure the victory.

The first three of the Rangers’ runs came in the second inning, on a two-run double from Ezequiel Duran and another on a throwing error by Astros second baseman Jose Altuve.

"It's a tall order, and we know what we're up against going into this game,” Beasley said of Valdez. “It was basically just that one inning that we got him. That one inning, we strung some ABs together, and he's tough. It's tough to do that against him. It was just a few pitches that he didn't execute, and we were able to make him pay.

“A lot of times, you may hit it hard right at somebody, so we were fortunate in the second inning for the ball to find some earth, and we were able to score three runs in that inning. It was huge for us."

The Astros fought back, tagging Rangers starter Glenn Otto for three runs to tie the game after four innings, but Texas’ bullpen quartet of Taylor Hearn, Jesus Tinoco, Matt Moore and José Leclerc were able to shut it down through the final five frames.

“I don’t think I did a very good job getting ahead,” Otto said. “It’s kind of what we’ve been talking about all year, right? I'm just trying to be as efficient as possible, but I threw a lot of pitches and got into a lot of deep counts. Just some wasted pitches here and there.”

“I felt like he grinded,” Beasley said of Otto’s outing. “And each one of [the relievers] was outstanding.”

The decisive run scored in the bottom of the seventh inning, when Corey Seager reached base on a fielding error by Yuli Gurriel and scored on a wild pitch from Valdez. That was the final pitch of Valdez’s outing.

The Astros committed three fielding errors, and the Rangers were able to take advantage for what felt like the first time in weeks. Beasley credited Seager for his effort running down the line to force Gurriel’s error, and he also noted the two walks drawn by designated hitter Mark Mathias drove the offensive production against Valdez.

“We always talk about out-efforting the other team, as far as taking advantage of their mistakes and putting ourselves in position to get a free 90 [feet] if it's there,” Beasley said. “We had two of those situations tonight. We did benefit from their mishaps tonight. That's how baseball is. They didn’t play 27 outs, and neither did we, but for the most part, we did take care of the baseball tonight. They had a couple of situations where they didn't and in a game like tonight, that usually determines the outcome.”