Astros win Battle of Texas


The Astros took care of business Saturday night with a 6-5 win over the Texas Rangers in front of a sellout crowd at Minute Maid Park. A regional television audience also got a chance to see the young Astros down the defending A.L. champs thanks to the Fox Network. Astros starter Lucas Harrell picked up the win even though things didn’t look good for him early.

A fielding error by Jed Lowrie helped the Rangers build a 4-0 lead in the third inning. David Murphy was credited with a three-run inside-the-park homer when Jordan Schafer and Justin Maxwell got tangled up in right-centerfield. Schafer had to leave the game with a sprained right ankle, but Harrell hung in there as the Astros mounted a comeback. Harrell struck out a career-high of six in 5 & 2/3 innings and evened his record at 3-3 for the year.

Chris Snyder got things started offensively with a solo homerun in the bottom of the third. Carlos Lee made things interesting when he interrupted Fox’s in-game interview with Nolan Ryan with a two-run blast in the fourth. It was a thing of beauty. The comeback was complete when Justin Maxwell lifted a two-run shot to left-center in the fifth. All three homers came against losing pitcher Derek Holland, who had allowed only three homers all season coming into the game.

It was nice to see the Astros put some power on display but it still felt like a game that could get away from them, especially when Brad Mills didn’t bring in Brandon Lyon to start the eighth inning. Wilton Lopez, who did a great job in the seventh, and Wesley Wright allowed back-to-back hits to start the inning before Lyon was called in to put out the fire. Lyon got the job done and Mills handed the ball to Brett Myers in the ninth with a 6-5 lead.

Myers struck out Ian Kinsler to start the inning. Elvis Andrus followed with a single but was doubled-off to end the game when Josh Hamilton grounded to first. It was the tenth save of the year for Myers.

Struggling outfielder J.D. Martinez was dropped to the seventh spot in the Astros batting order. Martinez entered the game in a 4 for 48 slump that included zero extra-base hits. J.D. finally got that elusive extra-base hit with a sixth inning double off Alexi Ogando. Martinez came around to score the Astros sixth run of the night on a double by Travis Buck. Martinez also drew a walk in the game but struck out in his other two at-bats.

Jordan Lyles (0-0, 3.00 ERA, 1.167 WHIP) faces Colby Lewis (3-3, 3.63 ERA, 1.173 WHIP) Sunday at 1:05 CDT as the battle for the Silver Boot continues.