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Rangers 3, Astros 2: Lucroy, Beltran prove to be the difference

Astros unable to take advantage of Lucas Harrell's struggles early in Saturday's game.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Astros are a team full of potential, they proved last season with their trip to the 2015 postseason. Entering the 2016 season, the Astros were the popular pick to fulfill that potential and win the AL West. But the Astros hasn't been able to do so because the Rangers have had other plans -- winning nine of the first 10 matchups against Houston this season.

The Rangers added to that frustration of unfulfilled potential by picked up another one-run victory over the Astros on Saturday at Minute Maid Park, 3-2.

Texas' trade-deadline acquisitions paid off for the Rangers as Jonathan Lucroy hit two home runs and Carlos Beltran collected a RBI single. On the other side of the coin, the Astros couldn't take advantage of former Astro Lucas Harrell's struggles on the mound.

The Astros loaded the bases in the first inning with an Alex Bregman double and two walks.  Harrell walked Preston Tucker on four pitches to put Houston up 1-0. But A.J. Reed struck out swinging to end the inning.

Houston got another bases-loaded chance in the third as Evan Gattis and Tucker reached on singles, and Reed walked. But Jake Marisnick grounded out to end the inning. It also didn't help that Jose Altuve thrown out attempting to steal second to open the inning after a walk.

The Rangers looked primed to tie the game in the fourth inning. Elvis Andrus dropped in a hit to right field to push Nomar Mazara into scoring position. Shin-Soo Choo singled to right field but George Springer came up firing. Springer's throw took catcher Jason Castro up the third base line but Castro bent back in time to tag Mazara -- the play was confirmed by replay review.

Harrell exited the game after 3 2/3 innings, but Houston could only get one run.

The Astros got another run in scoring position in the fifth but Reed grounded into a double play to end the threat.

Lucroy opened the sixth inning with a solo home run to tie the game, 1-1. Fister was able to end the inning, Fister allowed one run on nine hits and two walks while striking out two.

Choo and Beltran generated a run against Chris Devenski -- Choo stole second and scored on a single to center from Beltran. Top of the seventh ended with Rougned Odor doubling to left field, and Carlos Correa gunning down Beltran attempting to score from first on the play.

The frustration of the game boiled over for Jose Altuve in the bottom of the inning. Altuve was ejected after arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Alan Porter.

Lucroy gave the Rangers an insurance run in the eighth with his second solo home run, this time against Tony Sipp.

The third run was needed as the Astros were able to get a run in the ninth. Springer reached on a fielder's choice force out and scored on a Bregman single from second. But it was too late as Marwin Gonzalez ended the game with a groundout.

The Astros drop back to 6.5 games behind the Rangers in the AL West.