The roof at Minute Maid Park couldn’t quite hold back all of the rain that was falling in Houston on this Thursday night, but it wasn’t enough to dampen the Astros’ play. They broke their recent rough streak against the Rangers, holding on to win 4-2.
Of course, even that score undersells how much the Astros outplayed to an extent. Sure, the Rangers held a 2-1 lead for nearly two innings, thanks to a home run from former Astros Hunter Pence, who’s having quite the comeback year (and nearly the first of two, which would have changed things dramatically, but more on that later).
But even that felt like it would be the Rangers squeaking one out. Houston was putting runners on all night, and stranding them or losing them to double plays. In total, they managed nine hits and six walks over eight innings of at-bats, to the Rangers’ three hits and four walks. If you keep putting enough players on, sooner or later, some of them will score. As long as you can keep the other team off the board, it’s enough.
And Wade Miley was more than happy to help out on that front. The big rotation signing of the offseason turned in yet another solid and respectable performance, throwing 6 innings of 2-run baseball with only 2 hits allowed and 2 walks. He also picked up 7 strikeouts, which brought him over the 1000 mark for his career. Really, the only blemish was that Pence home run (and even that came after a botched double play became just a fielder’s choice).
Will Harris and Ryan Pressley followed him with pretty simple innings, but Roberto Osuna ran into some trouble. After a Shin-Soo Choo walk and an Elvis Andrus single, Hunter Pence was back up and looking for his second home run of the game. Thankfully, Josh Reddick was there:
On the offense side of things, Springer was the clear MVP, going 3-5 with a solo home run that started off the scoring (and ended Rangers starter Mike Minor’s sixteen-inning scoreless streak) and tied him for the AL lead at 13. The rest of the runs came from an Alex Bregman sac fly with the bases loaded, a Josh Reddick single to salvage the sixth innings after a double play nearly killed the rally, and a pinch-hit, bases-loaded walk to Michael Brantley in the eighth. Yuli Gurriel had a pair of singles, Robinson Chirinos reached twice on walks, and Jose Altuve had one of each.
The win moves the Astros to 23-15 on the year, on top of the AL West by 4 games. No other division leader is more than 3.5 games in first right now. And perhaps more importantly, the win puts them back to 3-4 on the year against the Rangers, meaning that the Golden Boot is still within reach. Justin Verlander will try and keep that trend up tomorrow as he faces off against Lance Lynn.