It’s a good time to enjoy the Astros. For the fifth game in a row, they came out with the victory. On Saturday, Houston defeated the Rangers 6-5, holding off a comeback attempt by Texas in the late innings. A four-bagger from Kyle Tucker’s bat made the difference in Minute Maid Park.
Two productive innings were enough for the Astros, who scored four runs in the bottom first and two more in the seventh. After the Rangers took an early lead in the top of the first with a Nate Lowe sac fly, Alex Bregman hit a 2-run single and Carlos Correa followed with a 2-run, opposite-field long ball.
Astros starter Luis García had a difficult first inning (which might have ended earlier, had a third strike on Nate Lowe been correctly called by home plate umpire Mark Wegner to end the inning), but Luis found his way to dominance in subsequent innings. In the next four episodes, he allowed only two hits and no runs. The young righty completed five innings work allowing five hits, an earned run, two walks, and notching five strikeouts. He decreased his season ERA to 3.34 and got the first win of his career at the major league level in his 13th start.
García got into a jam in the fifth with two men on base and two outs, but a magical mound visit from Brent Strom helped him put another zero to finish his night in fashion.
The Astros opened the sixth with Bryan Abreu on the mound. He threw two scoreless frames of one hit and one strikeout. During his appearance, Myles Straw made this beautiful grab in center field to rob David Dahl.
In the seventh inning, Tucker hit his ninth home run of the regular season, a laser shot with a man on board. The Astros’ right-fielder is carrying a seven-game hit streak, a span in which he’s hitting for a .480 batting average (12-for-25) with one double, one triple, four bombs, and 11 RBIs.
In the eight, the Astros’ normally reliable reliever Ryne Stanek struggled in a third of an inning in which he surrendered two hits (including a Joey Gallo moonshot), two walks, and four runs. The four earned runs he allowed more than doubled the three earned runs he had allowed all season until tonight. Fortunately, his off-night came during an appearance where he was given a five run lead, instead of a hold situation.
Brandon Bielak and Ryan Pressly calmed things down this time. Bielak helped the Astros get through the eighth while Pressly recorded his seventh save of the campaign.
This was the Astros’ 23rd win of the regular season and, finally this time, they closed the gap with the Athletics and are just 0.5 games behind first place.
On Sunday (1:10 pm CT), they’ll go after their sixth consecutive win and the sweep against the Rangers. Lance McCullers will be on the mound for Houston, after throwing eight innings of three-hit, one-run ball against the Angels on Tuesday.