Everything I wrote about yesterday’s game kind of played out in reverse tonight as the Rangers won 5-1 behind a solid start from Doug Fister and an offense that put up enough runs off of Dallas Keuchel to support his effort.
It was the Rangers who took an early 1-0 lead on a solo home run with a second inning blast off the bat of Nomar Mazara. This was notable as the dong to center came off lefty Keuchel. Mazara hit just one bomb off a left-hander in 2017 and one in 2016.
Like with Cole Hamels yesterday, the Rangers had Keuchel on the ropes with a hit in each inning until his final inning. Before his night was over, the Rangers had scored three runs on seven hits off the former Cy Young Award winner.
The big inning came in the bottom of the fourth when Adrian Beltre continued to force Father Time to take the L by doubling to lead things off. Mazara walked and Shin-Soo Choo singled to load the bases with nobody out.
Robinson Chirinos just missed hitting a grand slam with an oppo shot to the wall in right but had to settle for a sac fly and then Rougned Odor battled back from an 0-2 count against Keuchel and plated the Rangers’ third run with a sac fly of his own. Baby steps!
The Rangers almost threw all this effort away — literally. After the Astros scored in the fifth on Max Stassi double, Texas started the top of the sixth with a Mazara misplay catch/non-catch in the outfield that was reviewed and ruled a single, and, after reliever Chris Martin got Carlos Correa to strike out, Odor completely botched a double play attempt which saw the Astros end up with the tying runs in scoring position and just one out.
Marwin Gonzalez walked to load the bases before Martin struck out Evan Gattis and fireman Alex Claudio came in to clean things up with a swinging K of J.D. Davis to end the threat.
Texas scored some insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh when Joey Gallo hit a bullet off the tippy top of the wall in center field where not even twenty Houston Astro outfielders would have caught it. Gallo’s double brought home Delino DeShields who had reached on a walk and then Elvis brought in Gallo on a single to make it the eventual 5-1 final score.
It is at this point that I would like to point out that the Rangers have outscored the Astros 6-5 this season.
Player of the Game: Fister had an excellent curveball going tonight and he used that offspeed pitch to give the Rangers a solid effort in their first win of the season. He didn’t go deep in the game but allowing just a run on four hits against Houston is definitely a win for Fister and the Rangers.
Up Next: The Rangers play a Saturday matinee against these Astros with LHP Matt Moore set to make his debut with Texas opposite RHP Lance McCullers Jr. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 pm CT.