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Behind Altuve & Tucker, Astros sweep two game-series against Rangers

The Astros put up a show in their last series at Texas this year.

MLB: Houston Astros at Texas Rangers Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

The Astros said goodbye to August with their 17th win of the month (17-11). On Wednesday afternoon, with a 5-3 score, they completed a two-game sweep against the Rangers. It was Houston’s 12th W of the season off Texas, their most against any team and tied with the Mariners.

There were two key factors in this game for the ‘Stros.

First, even though they could have scored many more runs, José Altuve and Kyle Tucker got key hits. Altuve, who went 2-for-3 with two walks, recorded a go-ahead, two-run double in the second inning against countryman Martín Pérez to make it 3-2. It’s 31 doubles for José in the 2022 campaign and five in his last eight games. It was also Tuve’s 200th career hit off the Rangers…

Two innings later, King Tuck singled with bases loaded to bring home Altuve and Jeremy Peña with the Astros’ fourth and fifth runs of the game (5-2), a lead that was enough for them to reach their 84th win of ’22.

In the bottom fifth, the Rangers tried to come back and even scored their third run, but here is when the other factor played a huge role. With Cristian Javier lasting only five innings on the mound –his shortest start since July 27—, the bullpen took things over and delivered a great collective performance.

Javier, the winning pitcher (8-9), allowed four hits and three earned runs, gave up three walks, and struck out seven hitters. Right after he was removed from the contest, Phil Maton came out of the ‘pen as the Astros’ first reliever of the afternoon.

Maton threw a scoreless sixth and struck out one to lower his ERA to 4.15. Ryne Stanek followed him with a scoreless inning of his own with also a punchout (1.22 ERA). Then, Will Smith logged his fifth consecutive blank appearance and Rafael Montero got the save (10) with a zero in the ninth.

Fun, random stat: this marks the fourth season in the last 10 years in which the Astros have had at least two guys with 10+ saves (Pressly, Montero). Last time it had happened was in 2018 (Giles, Osuna, Rondón).

From Friday to Sunday, the Astros will visit Anaheim to play a three-game series against Shohei Ohtani and the Angels. Lance McCullers is expected to start the series opener by Houston.