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Verlander, Castro lead Astros to 2-1 Victory

Justin Verlander worked six scoreless, and Jason Castro made plays on offense and defense for a Houston victory.

Texas Rangers v Houston Astros Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Looking for a bounceback, the Houston Astros defeated the Texas Rangers, 2-1 in game three of a four-game set on Saturday night.

After an 11-game win streak, the Astros have alternated wins and losses for the seven contests entering tonight’s fray, still atop the American League West Division by a game-and-a-half over the Los Angeles Angels. The Rangers sit third in the same race, six games back.

Justin Verlander started the contest with a little bit of drama. Brad Miller reached base on a fielding error by Jason Castro, then Marcus Semien singled. After a Corey Seager whiff, Adolis Garcia singled and both teams challenged the calls on the field. It resulted in the second out of the inning and no runs scored. It’s complicated if you didn’t watch. Verlander ended up without surrendering a run in the frame.

Houston got on the board first in the bottom of the inning. Jose Siri opened with a single, then stole second. Michael Brantley walked, then after an Alex Bregman strikeout, Yordan Alvarez opened the scoring with an RBI-single to left, scoring Siri. Yuli Gurriel and Kyle Tucker each flew out to end the inning.

The score remained 1-0 in favor of the Astros until the fifth inning. Castro led off with a double, just his fourth hit of the season. After moving to third on a Siri groundout, he came home with some heads-up base running on a Jon Gray wild pitch to double the Houston lead.

After Verlander worked a scoreless top of the sixth, Alvarez opened the bottom half with his first triple of the season. Alvarez couldn’t score as Gurriel, Tucker, and Aledmys Diaz went down on seven combined pitches after his theatrics.

Phil Maton came in for Verlander, who hit the showers after working six scoreless innings, striking out eight, walking zero, and surrendering six hits. He got 67-of-95 over the plate, worked his third straight scoreless outing, and now leads the American League with a 1.22 ERA.

Maton worked his inning without allowing a run despite a leadoff double. Hector Neris came in to pitch the eighth and blew the shutout (but not the save), when Garcia smacked an RBI-single into right, scoring Seager. Also, Castro showed he had more to offer the Astros than his (lack of) offense, when he gunned down Garcia attempting to take third. The play was challenged, but the call on the field was ultimately upheld.

After the Astros went down 1-2-3 in their half of the eighth, Ryan Pressly came on for a save opportunity. After quickly inducing a pair of fly ball outs, Nathaniel Lowe kept the Rangers alive with a two-out single. Pressly then whiffed Sam Huff on four pitches for his fifth save of the season.

Fangraphs.com
  • Verlander’s victory was his seventh consecutive start against Texas in which he claimed a victory.
  • Tomorrow at 2:10 PM, the Astros will complete the series against the Rangers.