Astros continue to dominate Rangers with 5-1 win at Houston – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Houston wide receiver Martín Maldonado entered Thursday’s game with just 0.116.

But with the Astros clinging to a one-run lead and the bases loaded with two outs in the eighth inning, manager Dusty Baker decided to stick with the veteran instead of using a pinch hitter.

Baker’s decision paid off when Maldonado hit a three-point brace to give the Astros some confidence in a 5-1 win over the Texas Rangers.

“Sometimes in the right circumstances you have to give someone confidence at bat,” Baker said. “He was a southpaw and luckily for us, Martín cleared the bases. You can’t hit for him all the time, otherwise he’ll never have confidence.

Jose Altuve added a season-high four hits to back up a strong start from Framber Valdez and help the Astros continue their home dominance over the Rangers.

The win extended Houston’s winning streak at home against Rangers to 11. Texas went 0-9 at Minute Maid Park last season and hasn’t won in Houston since Sept. 16, 2020.

The Astros, who have lost two of the last three games on the road, won their ninth straight game at home.

Valdez (3-2) allowed six hits and a run while tying a season-high seven strikeouts in seven innings for his second straight win. The southpaw got off to a shaky start with an early walk and backhand in the first that helped Rangers take a 1-0 lead. He then settled for keeping them scoreless for the next six innings and lowering his ERA to 2.68.

“He was good,” Baker said. “He was very good and he composed when needed. He was probably throwing harder in that seventh inning than any other time in the game. He emptied the tank. He really wanted this win.

Altuve, who hit two doubles, scored in the first to tie before an RBI single from Kyle Tucker put Houston up 2-1.

Josh Sborz walked three straight batters to load with one out in the eighth and was replaced by Matt Moore. Moore struck out José Siri before Maldonado hit his double to clear the goals and make it 5-1.

“To be able to help on the attacking side… that was huge,” Maldonado said.

Glenn Otto (1-2) pitched well after giving up the two runs early, but Rangers couldn’t provide any running support after the first to keep the rookie winless since April 22. He had seven hits and two runs in a career-high six innings.

“They didn’t hit it hard,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said. “At first they hit a few balls hard, but after that he did a very, very good job for us.”

Eli White walked for the first time before going second on a Marcus Semien groundout. A refusal from Valdez sent White to third and Rangers took the lead when White scored on a Corey Seager single.

Altuve opened Houston’s first with a brace and moved to third on wild ground. Otto beat Alex Bregman before Altuve scored on a single from Aledmys Díaz to equalize. Bregman was kicked out at third on the play and Díaz moved up to second.

Tucker put Houston up 2-1 when he lined up a right field single to score Díaz.

The Astros had a shot to add to the lead in the second inning with Siri was at second base with two outs. Altuve singled and Siri sprinted home, but Charlie Culberson’s pitch beat him there to end the inning.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rangers: C Mitch Garver was activated from the injured list 10 days before Thursday’s game. OF Nick Solak was chosen for Triple-A Round Rock to make room for him on the roster.

MAKE IT TWO

The Houston Texans’ two first-round picks in this year’s draft threw ceremonial first pitches ahead of Thursday’s game. Kenyon Green, an offensive lineman taken 15th overall, went first and threw a strike. Not to be outdone, defensive back Derek Stingley Jr., who was the third pick, also followed with a strike.

NEXT

Houston’s Cristian Javier (2-1, 3.20 ERA) takes on Martín Pérez (2-2, 2.01) when the streak continues Friday night.

Lance B. Holton