On paper tonight’s game seemed like a very unfavorable matchup for the Rangers as they had Adrian Sampson set to make the seventh start of his big league career against Gerrit Cole for Houston.
Cole came into tonight’s game with a 3.24 ERA on the young season and had struck out 36 batters in 25 innings over his four starts including 11 in his last outing against Seattle. Alternatively, Sampson is already a depth option the Rangers were forced to dip into who has never won a baseball game as a big leaguer and, until his last appearance, had never even appeared in a big league game where his team won. Well, make it two straight for Sampson.
Sampson didn’t get the win himself but he was the benefactor of five first inning Rangers runs which allowed him to soak up 4 1⁄3 innings before the Rangers turned to the bullpen.
Texas batted around against Cole in the bottom of the first with the RBI hits coming from Danny Santana and Logan Forsythe with the big hit of the inning coming off the bat of Asdrubal Cabrera when he parachuted a ball into shallow left field just to the right of the foul line where no Astro could reach it.
Cabrera’s hit was a bit of a lucky break for Texas but they weren’t finished scoring on the night and ended up with nine runs. Piling on the runs beyond the first inning outburst proved to be important as the Astros eventually scored four runs themselves. A 9-4 blowout could have looked a lot closer and caused some indigestion had the Rangers not kept putting runs on the board to keep the Astros at bay.
Overall, the Rangers put eight earned runs on Cole in his own 4 1⁄3 innings of work as they pinned a loss on him for the second time in two starts this season in Arlington.
With the win, the Rangers are now 3-2 on the year against first place Houston and have a chance to pick up their second series win against the Astros in tomorrow’s finale.
Player of the Game: Yeah, I mean, Danny Santana went 3-for-5 with the game’s first RBI and is hitting .348 for the Rangers so far this season but did he have the popcorn stand quaking like Joey Gallo did again? No.
Up Next: The Rangers and Astros will close out this leg of the Silver Boot series with a matinee rubber match on Sunday afternoon. Shelby Miller will take the mound for Texas against RHP Collin McHugh for Houston. First pitch from The Ballpark is scheduled for 2:05 pm CT.