Bedard issued a pair of walks in the first inning and A.J. Pierzynski made him pay by hitting a 3-run homer into the rightfield bleachers. The Astros cut the lead to 3-2 in the second when Marc Krauss connected for his first big league homerun, a 2-run shot off Justin Grimm.
Krauss had a nice weekend against the Rangers, collecting three hits on Saturday and going deep today. What impressed me the most about the rookie was his ability to get a quality at-bat almost every time up. Krauss laid off of pitches outside the strike zone and fouled off a number of tough ones as well. After watching from the bench for the better part of two weeks, Krauss made the most of his opportunity and should have earned an increase in playing time.
Adrian Beltre extended the Rangers lead to 4-2 with a third inning homerun but the Astros battled back to tie. J.D. Martinez, who was 3 for 4 on the day, drove in a run with a fourth inning single and the Astros took advantage of some shoddy defense by the Rangers to plate another run in the fifth.
The Astros were unable to get anything going against the Texas bullpen after chasing Grimm from the game in the fifth. Bedard was saddled with the tough luck loss after hanging in there for 6 & 1/3 innings and 104 pitches.
Although Altuve’s error proved to be costly, the Astros did make a couple of nice defensive plays. Altuve made an outstanding turn on a double play and Brandon Barnes picked up an outfield assist by throwing out Nelson Cruz at second base.
The Rangers placed former Astro Lance Berkman on the 15-day disabled list prior to the game with left hip inflammation. Berkman is hitting .254/.355/.377 in 68 games for the Rangers after signing a 1-year, $12 million Free Agent contract during the offseason. Texas also placed Nick Tepesch on the D.L. and recalled Joaquim Soria and Cory Burns. Both relievers had successful outings in today’s game.
The Astros will enjoy an off day tomorrow before a 2-game series in St. Louis on Tuesday and Wednesday. Bud Norris gets to pitch in his favorite stadium in the opener. He will be opposed by 11-game winner and Astro killer Adam Wainwright.