Young Astros flex muscles against Rangers


An Astros lineup that included three rookies took care of business in Arlington tonight against Yu Darvish and the Rangers. Brandon Barnes, Marc Krauss, and Jake Elmore combined to hit two homers and drive in six runs in the 9-5 Astros win.

Barnes put the Astros on top 2-0 with a 2-run blast off Darvish in the fourth inning. One inning later, Krauss extended the lead to 4-0 with a bases loaded single. Both hits came with two outs in the inning. Krauss would tally three hits in the game before being replaced by Ronny Cedeno. When Cedeno entered the game at shortstop Jake Elmore moved to left field, taking over for Krauss. Elmore would add the icing to the cake with his first big league homer, a 2-run blast in the eighth.

Astros starter Dallas Keuchel delivered a gutsy performance and left the game in the sixth inning with a 4-0 lead and a pair of runners on base. Once again, the Astros bullpen failed to get the job done and Keuchel was denied the victory. After recording the first out of the inning, Paul Clemens walked Lance Berkman. Wesley Wright was then summoned from the bullpen. Wright got out number two on a sacrifice fly but then gave up a 3-run homer to Geovany Soto to tie the game.

The big blow in this game was delivered by Jason Castro. The Astros All-Star catcher hammered a 3-run homer in the seventh inning to put the Astros ahead 7-4. Castro also gunned down Ian Kinsler attempting to steal — not once, but twice. Castro helped Keuchel get out of first inning trouble by nailing Kinsler at second on a strike ’em out throw ’em out double play. In the seventh Castro bailed out reliever Josh Fields when he threw out Kinsler again.

The official scorer awarded the victory to Travis Blackley, even though Wright was the Astros pitcher when Castro hit the go-ahead homer. Wright was basically ineffective — while Blackley got the final out of the seventh and tossed a 1-2-3 eighth. Jose Veras retired the Rangers in order in the ninth to seal the deal and even the series at one game apiece. The Astros send Erik Bedard to the mound tomorrow at 2:05 as they go for the series victory.