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81-54 - Rangers are what goes bump in the night for Astros

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Texas best Astros 10-8 in opener for their sixth straight win

Sean Porkorny-USA TODAY Sports

If you were to ask an Astros fan who their least favorite Rangers players were before tonight's game, you'd probably find Carlos Beltran, Rougned Odor, and now Carlos Gomez would probably rank 1, 2, and 3.

Tonight, in the opening game of the most pivotal series of Houston's season, with their best starter in 2016 on the mound against the Rangers' fifth starter, those three players went a combined 5-for-11 with five runs scored, five RBI, two home runs, and three walks.

Jonathan Lucroy, who could have been an Astro if Houston's GM Jeff Luhnow believed in his team, and who Luhnow bemoaned no trade clauses about to USA Today in a candid, but sort of pathetic display, went 2-for-4 with a dinger, two runs scored.

Perhaps the only thing that could have made the game worse for Houston would have been if Cole Hamels were on the mound shoving against them. He'll have his chance soon enough against the team he exercised his no trade on last year.

Nevertheless, most of the thorns on the yellow rose of Texas stuck in Houston's side tonight as the Rangers opened this series with a win. On the season, the Rangers are now 12-2 against the Astros and are 50-18 since the beginning of 2013 when Houston joined the AL.

Houston made it close in the late innings as they scored the final five runs of the game with Texas doing their best to make it a one-run game and assure a win. Texas held on for their sixth straight win without the benefit of their one-run magic, however.

The Rangers hold a 9 1/2 game lead in the American League West. The Rangers are 27 games above .500 and have reached that mark for in a season for just the fourth time in franchise history. Texas was also 27 games above .500 in 1999, 2011, and 2012.

Player of the Game: It's gotta be Gomez just for the Rangers' superior trolling.

Up Next: The Rangers and Astros play the second game of this series with Texas looking to extend their division lead to a season-high 10 1/2 games with Derek Holland on the mound against RHP Joe Musgrove. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 pm CT.