Rangers 6, Astros 2
- 4.5 games up. The Magic Number is 5. This is pretty nice, you guys...
- The Rangers got another less than ideal start from Yovani Gallardo, who retired only 14 of the 24 batters he faced, and was pulled with two outs in the fifth inning after allowing a double to Evan Gattis. Gallardo, as has been his tendency of late, wasn't efficient and was constantly in trouble, giving up 8 hits and 2 walks, but once again did a good job of keeping runs off the board, giving up just 2 runs in his 4.2 IP.
- Banister used five relievers after that, having Andrew Faulkner finish the fifth and start the sixth, then going to Ross Ohlendorf for 1.1 IP before bringing Jake Diekman in for one batter to finish the seventh. Sam Dyson and Shawn Tolleson each pitched a scoreless inning to close out the game, giving the Ranger bullpen 4.1 scoreless innings yesterday.
- The Astros bullpen did the Rangers one better, putting up 5.1 scoreless innings yesterday, but the Rangers did enough damage early against Houston starter Scott Kazmir that they didn't have to do anything against the pen. As has seemingly been the case in just about every game of late, Texas scored in the first, on a two out Adrian Beltre walk/Prince Fielder double sequence. Texas got on the board again in the second when Mitch Moreland doubled, and then Elvis Andrus got a bunt single down that allowed Moreland to score when Kazmir threw wildly, and late, to first. Elvis was thrown out later trying to advance on a wild pitch, but a Chris Gimenez triple led to a second run in the inning when Shin-Soo Choo singled him home.
- The final three runs came in the fourth inning -- Kazmir retired the first two batters of the inning before Delino DeShields hit what looked like a routine single to left-center. Because DeShields went full speed and never stopped running, though, he was able to leg out a double. Choo followed that up with a home run, and then a Beltre double and a Prince RBI single led to Kazmir getting pulled.
- Every Ranger starter except for Rougned Odor had a hit yesterday, and DeShields, Choo, Beltre and Fielder all had multi-hit games. The early lead, and early departure of Kazmir, led to Jeff Banister inserting Will Venable into the game for Mike Napoli in the bottom of the fourth inning, and Drew Stubbs came in for DeShields late once again, as Banister tries to reduce the strain on DeShields' knee.
- The Astros also lost Jose Altuve late yesterday on a play where he collided with Carlos Correa on an Elvis Andrus popup. Altuve reported he was dizzy initially, but after the game said he was fine, so he may be back in the lineup for Houston today.
- My feeling, coming into the series, was the Rangers needed to take one game for this series to be a success. Taking one of three would put the Rangers at 2.5 up with 7 home games to go, while Houston will have 6 on the road. Texas has taken that one game, and have the opportunity now to bury the Astros in the next two games.