The Astros voiced how badly they wanted to win this game and take the series after emotions flared on Saturday night and that they did. Dallas Keuchel, who started his first game since throwing 2 scoreless frames in the All-Star game, dominated the Rangers on Sunday afternoon. Keuchel threw 7 innings of 2 hit, 0 run ball while striking out 13 of the 21 he faced and walking none. The game, which was firmly out of hand by the time Keuchel left the game was closed by Roberto Hernandez throwing 1 perfect inning. Chad Qualls also threw an inning of no run ball, allowing 1 hit and striking out 1. He hasn't allowed a run in his last 4 outings.
The Astros offense has been sputtering as late averaging 2 runs per game in their last 8 (1-7 in those games). Well, in a game where the ceremonial first pitch was thrown by a head coach who loves offense, Kevin Sumlin of Texas A&M, it was only fitting the Astros finally broke out of their slump. Their big day was backed by rookies Preston Tucker (3-5, double, 3 runs, 2 RBI) and Carlos Correa (2-3, double, 3 runs, 1 RBI and 2 walks) with help from Luis Valbuena (4-5, double, 4 RBI). The offense didn't just get up and go but once it got going it never stopped. The Astros struck 1st with a Carlos Correa double in the 3rd scoring Tucker. The Astros then proceeded to then score 2 more in the 3rd, 2 in the 5th, 3 in the 6th, and 2 in the 7th. If the Astros can hit like this they are right where they want to be. This game proves the Astros can manufacture runs - not just score with the long ball.
The Astros will be waiting when the Boston Red Sox come to town tuesday night for a 3-game series. The Astros will send Vincent Velasquez to the rubber. Velasquez holds a 3.94 ERA in 6 starts although he only has a 0-1 record. The Red Sox will put their 5th ranked prospect out on the mound in Brian Johnson as he makes his Major league debut. Johnson is starting in place of Clay Buchholz who pitched versus the Astros on July 4th, and pitched well for that matter, throwing 9 innings of 1 hit baseball.