Let it be known that the Rangers outscored the Astros by six runs in this series.
Texas hadn’t experienced a moment without sole possession of first place in the American League West in nearly exactly three months. That ain’t changing tonight, either.
With Houston reinserting Yordan Alvarez and Jose Altuve into a lineup that had won the first two games of this series, and with Houston’s ace Framber Valdez on the mound, it sure seemed like the Rangers were about to see their lead fully evaporate.
It didn’t help that it was 3-0 Astros just four batters into the game when Alex Bregman hit a three-run dong off a shaky Andrew Heaney.
Heaney hit the next batter, Alvarez, and that might have been the best pitch he threw all night. Not because of any sort of dumb sports retaliation nonsense, but because Valdez hit Marcus Semien in his next PA. Was that retaliation? Who knows, but Semien wasn’t happy about it.
The teams were warned and suddenly the Rangers were playing with a bit of a chip on their shoulder as they didn’t really want to be wearing HBPs while also getting their asses beat in this series.
As we’ve seen, however, especially in this second half, Texas turned it on suddenly and ruthlessly for 17 hits and the game’s next 13 runs.
This culminated with an Adolis Garcia grand slam during a seven-run 5th inning for Texas that got Semien and Houston catcher Martin Maldonado kicked out of the game for chirping near home plate as Garcia was waltzing in to score.
The benches cleared but when everyone got back to their places, the Rangers were enjoying the best kind of revenge, living well with a blowout victory and a division lead that is no worse for wear from where it was at the All-Star break.
Player of the Game: The intensity of Semien’s distaste for the Astros is what is going to make this an actual rivalry.
Up Next: The Rangers get a day off on Thursday before squaring off against A.J. Preller’s Padres in what will be the final set before the trade deadline. RHP Dane Dunning is expected to pitch in the opener for Texas opposite RHP Joe Musgrove for San Diego.
Friday night’s first pitch from Petco Park is scheduled for 8:40 pm CT and will be aired on BS Southwest.