After a victory Monday in the opener of a three-game set, the
Astros are tailgating their state rival.
Shortstop Marwin Gonzalez's three-run triple keyed Houston's
decisive six-run second inning, and the Astros snapped a seven-game
losing streak with a 12-7 victory over the Rangers on Monday night.
Houston pulled within two games of the Rangers for fourth place in
the AL West.
First baseman Jon Singleton went 3-for-4 with a three-run home run
and four RBIs. Center fielder Alex Presley was 2-for-4 with a solo
home run and two RBIs in support of right-handed pitcher Jarred
Cosart, who won while struggling for a second consecutive game.
Cosart (9-6) gave up six runs (five earned) on nine hits over five
innings, striking out two and walking two.
"Our goal is to play better baseball than the year before," said
Houston manager Bo Porter, whose team improved to 37-54. "We are
getting better. We still have a ways to.
"Regardless of what team it is, our job is to beat that team."
The Rangers (38-51) lost for the sixth time in seven games and for
the 16th time in 20.
Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre extended his hitting streak to 11
games after going 2-for-5 with a double, a home run and two RBIs.
Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus was 2-for-5 with a three-run double
in the fourth.
Beltre, selected to the AL All-Star team as a reserve, has hits in
16 of his past 17 games, and he hit home runs in three of his past
Texas right-hander Miles Mikolas (0-1) took his first major league
loss as a starter, surrendering nine runs on 12 hits over 3 1/3
innings. He finished with five strikeouts and no walks.
The Astros sent 10 hitters to the plate in the top of the second.
Run-scoring singles by catcher Carlos Corporan and left fielder
Enrique Hernandez were part of a stretch of five consecutive hits to
start the inning.
Gonzalez followed with a bases-clearing, three-run triple. Presley
accounted for the Astros' sixth run with an RBI single.
"It wasn't quality (pitches). He left too many out over the plate,"
Texas manager Ron Washington said. "You have to throw quality
strikes, and that one inning they just found a way to put the ball
in play and hit the grass out there, and then Gonzalez's (hit) was
the big blow."
Houston's L.J. Hoes, a pinch hitter for Presley, who left with a
right oblique strain, added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly in
Singleton's eighth-inning double, one of 17 Astros hits, scored
second baseman Jose Altuve for Houston's last run.
Though his eight victories since May 11 are tied for the most in the
majors with Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw, Cosart
has a 9.71 ERA in his past two starts, having allowed 12 runs on 18
Given a big lead in the second, Cosart was unable to follow with a
shutdown inning. He faced six hitters in both the second and fourth,
allowing the Rangers to close the gap with Andrus' run-scoring
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Cosart permitted Beltre's run-scoring double in the third.
"I think he was up in the zone with his breaking ball," Porter said
of Cosart. "It just looked like he didn't have a lot of finish with
his breaking ball."
Astros left-hander Darin Downs, right-hander Josh Fields and
left-hander Tony Sipp (1 2/3 innings) combined for three innings of
hitless ball. Right-hander Jose Veras closed it out, giving up one
run on two hits in the ninth.
Fields and Sipp struck out seven consecutive Rangers hitters between
the sixth and eight innings, tying a Texas record.
The Rangers scored single runs in the second and third, but
Singleton put some distance between the teams with a three-run home
run in the fourth on an 0-2 count.
"Way too good a pitch on 0-2," Mikolas said.
Andrus' three-run double with two outs in the fourth cut the
Rangers' deficit to four. Beltre's solo home run in the fifth cut it
"We just haven't been able to stop the other team," Washington said.
"We just have to get back to pitching better because I do think if
our pitching can give our offense a chance, we'll start putting
enough runs on the board to win some games."
NOTES: Houston C Jason Castro, hitting .462 in three starts since
being moved into the No. 2 spot in the lineup, was scratched Monday
because of pain under his left armpit, manager Bo Porter said. ...
Texas sent struggling OF Michael Choice to Triple-A Round Rock and
called up RHP Roman Mendez and OF Jake Smolinski. Choice, acquired
in a trade from Oakland for OF Craig Gentry in the offseason, was
hitting .173 with eight home runs and 28 RBIs. He was 5-for-66
(.076) in his past 19 games. ... Texas also designated INF Donnie
Murphy for assignment. The team has 10 days to trade, release or
outright Murphy to the minors. ... The Rangers will purchase the
contract of Round Rock RHP Phil Irwin on Tuesday. Irwin will start
that night in place of RHP Nick Martinez, who aggravated a muscle
strain on his left side while taking batting practice last weekend.
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