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Astros 3, Rangers 2: Late Inning Heroics Cap off Series Win

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Keuchel fires 7 strong innings, Astros bats come alive in 8th to bury the Rangers

Bob Levey

Sunday's series finale saw limited opportunities come and go to no avail in the early going, with the Astros stranding runners in multiple innings. The gravest offender was Thursday night's hero, Jason Castro, who twice flew out with the bases loaded and two outs, failing to reproduce his grand slam heroics from the series opener. Dallas Keuchel allowed a run in the first inning after allowing a two out double to Alex Rios, who would then come around to score on Ryan Rua's first career RBI. Rios continues to be a thorn in Keuchel's side, as he entered the game hitting .353 lifetime against the Houston lefty, and went 2-3 on the day today.

The Astros evened the score at 1 when Matt Dominguez knocked Jason Castro in with a 2 out single in the 2nd inning. That would be the end of the scoring for a while, as Keuchel and Rangers starter Nick Martinez dueled and kept the offenses at bay. The Rangers took the lead when Rios again did the damage on an RBI single in the 6th.

It looked like the Astros would waste a strong start from Keuchel, failing to make much noise in the run column despite putting together 12 baserunners through the first 7 innings. Jose Veras worked out of a jam in the top of the 8th after giving up a single to Elvis Andrus and walking Rios. Veras got a big strikeout on a breaking ball to Adrian Beltre, and Jake Marisnick made a nice running play in RF on a line drive by Rua. By keeping the deficit at 1, Veras set the stage for the 8th inning fireworks.

Matty D continued his strong day at the plate by belting a solo homerun to the Crawford Boxes off of Neil Cotts to knot the game up at 2. After Marisnick reached on a HBP and stole second, Gregorio Petit moved him over to 3rd on a groundout to 3B. As he's seemingly done time and time again lately, Robbie Grossman followed with a professional at-bat, working a 2 out walk off of Neftali Feliz to bring up the world's greatest hitter of baseballs, Jose Altuve. Altuve had already put together a great day at the plate, collecting 3 hits and 2 doubles, but he decided that just wouldn't quite cut it. Altuve singled to center on Feliz's first offering, driving in the go-ahead run. Chris Carter would follow with a single to CF as well, but Grossman was caught at the plate by a perfect throw from Leonys Martin. Chad Qualls closed the door with a 1-2-3 9th inning to preserve the win.

With the win, the Astros continued their dominance of the Rangers this season the day after clinching the Boot, running their head-to-head record up to 11-5. Jose Altuve continues to be really good at baseball in case you had forgotten, finishing the day 4-5 with 2 doubles and the game winning RBI single. Dallas Keuchel spun a gem, allowing just 2 runs on 5 hits in 7 innings. The Astros also finish with a winning record for the month of August, going 15-14. Houston continues its march towards avoiding 100 losses, now needing just 4 wins in its last 24 games to get over the hump. With another 3 game set against the Rangers yet in September, that looks to be a certainty at this point. Knock on wood.