Hits just keep on coming for Philip Humber.
Though only five of the runs were charged to him, Humber’s disastrous outing erased a fine starting performance by recently reinstated starting pitcher Erik Bedard and a good night from slick fielding third baseman Matt Dominguez at the plate.
Houston (10-27) also redeemed itself against the near-perfect Yu Darvish, who came within one out of throwing a perfect game against the Astros in this season’s second game. On Saturday, Darvish threw two perfect innings before Dominguez deposited one of his pitches over the left field wall to make it 1-0 Houston.
Later, Dominguez sent a Darvish pitch just inside the left field foul pole for a two-run home run to give Houston a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth.
Astros starter Erik Bedard baffled the Rangers (23-13) for five innings, giving up four hits and two runs while walking one and striking out seven. The lefty gave up one run on a towering home run from Adrian Beltre in the top of the second.
The second run was charged to him after Bedard gave up a leadoff single in the top of the sixth. Manager Bo Porter quickly pulled the Houston lefty in favor of Humber.
That’s when the wheels came off the train in left field.
Humber struck out Adrian Beltre but gave up a home run to Nelson Cruz that hit an Astros reliever in the right field bullpen. Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland then crushed a ball that nearly reached the top of Tal’s Hill in center field for a triple before David Murphy hit a ground rule double down the left field line.
That made the score 4-3 Texas and the Rangers would not relinquish the lead.
The inning’s indignities were not over for Humber, who gave up a walk to Geovany Soto and then another triple to pinch-hitter Leonys Martin that scored Murphy and Soto, making it 6-3 Rangers. After getting an infield flyout to second base from Ian Kinsler, Ranger shortstop Elvis Andrus singled up the middle to score Martin and make it 7-3 Texas.
Houston added another run in the bottom of the eighth after Robbie Grossman doubled to left, but the Astros were unable to overcome Humber’s blunders. Humber’s earned run average rose a full run from 8.49 entering the game to 9.59 after his 2/3 innings of work.
Darvish (6-1) won for the second time this season against Houston, but gave up at least three runs for the third straight start. The Japanese right-hander also became just the second pitcher in MLB history to reach 300 strikeouts in his first 37 starts. The only other pitcher to do it was Dwight "Doc" Gooden, who had 319 Ks in his first 37 starts.
Houston nearly overcame Humber’s big inning with a furious rally in the ninth that saw three straight hits off Ranger relievers and three Houston runs. Rangers closer Joe Nathan ended the game by inducing an infield pop up to shortstop by pinch-hitter Chris Carter.
The two teams will conclude this three game series with a Mother’s Day matinee at 1:10 p.m. Sunday at Minute Maid Park.