Saturday, August 30, 2014
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Choice helps Rangers pound Astros

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[August 30, 2014]  HOUSTON -- From the reassurance of his manager Ron Washington to additional video study, Rangers left fielder Michael Choice had the support and the focus necessary to break free from an 0-for-10 slump since his most recent promotion. All he needed was to deliver. 

Choice recorded his first career three-hit game while four teammates posted multi-hit efforts as the Rangers pounded the Houston Astros 13-6 on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

The Rangers (53-81) approached a season high in runs (16 on Aug. 5 against the White Sox), and their 16 hits were just shy of their season high of 18 accomplished three times.

Choice, the Rangers' right fielder, finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs and his ninth home run, a three-run shot in the fourth inning.

Washington threw batting practice to Choice earlier Friday and indicated that Choice needed to utilize the same swing during the game to reap success. Choice also took his own observations into consideration.

"Just kind of looked at some video and made a small adjustment at the plate and it worked out," Choice said. "I saw I was pulling my head a little bit once the ball was getting close to the hitting zone. I was pulling it just a tad, so tonight I really focused on trying to keep my head down as long as I could."

Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor added a three-run homer, his seventh, off Astros right-hander Jake Buchanan in the seventh inning.

Odor (2-for-5, three RBIs), center fielder Daniel Robertson (2-for-4) and third baseman Adrian Beltre (2-for-4) tallied two hits apiece, while shortstop Adam Rosales finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs in support of right-hander Scott Baker (3-3), who limited the Astros (57-79) to two runs on six hits and one walk with three strikeouts over 6 1/3 innings. The innings pitched represented a season high for Baker.

"They swung the bat well but I'm even more happy with what Baker gave us," Washington said. "We call on that guy for many things and tonight he got into the seventh inning for us and did a tremendous job. That's where it all started, but those guys at the bottom (of the batting order) were great for us."

Catcher Jason Castro homered for a second consecutive game for the Astros, who had won eight of the last nine games in the Lone Star Series. Houston leads the season series 9-5 and remains one win shy of reclaiming the Silver Boot for the first time since the 2006 season.

"We just have to look at this night just like we didn't pitch too well; we just didn't have it early and they jumped out to a pretty big lead," Astros manager Bo Porter said. "All you can do is put it behind you and come back tomorrow."

Having squandered early scoring opportunities in the series opener on Thursday night, the Rangers were far less wasteful against Astros left-hander Brett Oberholtzer, tallying single runs in the first and third innings before rocking Oberholtzer with a breakout four-run fourth.

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Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus victimized Oberholtzer with an RBI double that scored Robertson in the first inning and a sacrifice fly that scored Choice in the third, giving the Rangers a 2-1 lead.

Choice, who doubled with one out in the third, recorded his second extra-base hit an inning later, the homer that followed catcher Tomas Telis' RBI single and built the lead to 6-1.

Beltre scored on Telis' hit in the fourth and chased Oberholtzer with his run-scoring double in the fifth, plating right fielder Alex Rios.

Oberholtzer (4-10) departed having surrendered a season-high seven runs on nine hits and one walk over 4 1/3 innings.

"I am just going to forget about this one," Oberholtzer said. "Go the next four days and prepare like I normally would and put this start behind me and move forward."

NOTES: Astros manager Bo Porter declined to comment on his relationship with general manager Jeff Luhnow and denied a published report that he spoke with owner Jim Crane concerning grievances with Luhnow. According to the report, Porter grew exasperated with Luhnow for intervening in on-field decisions. Luhnow was out of town and unavailable for comment. ... Rangers 1B-OF Jim Adduci was placed on the seven-day concussion disabled list after he slammed his head on the warning track following a catch in foul territory Thursday night. To replace Adduci on the active roster, the Rangers purchased the contract of IF-OF Ryan Rua from Triple-A Round Rock. When Rua appears in a game, he will become the 59th player to play for Texas this season, which will tie a major league record held by the 2002 Indians, 2002 Padres and 2008 Padres. Rua is the 20th rookie on Texas' active roster this season, a club record. ... Rangers LHP Derek Holland (left knee) will be reinstated from the 60-day disabled list Tuesday and will make his first start of the season at Kansas City.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

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