A ninth inning sacrifice fly off the bat of Elvis Andrus gave the Rangers a 5-4 win and a 3-game series sweep over the Astros Wednesday night in Arlington. Houston broke out on top 1-0 when Jason Castro led off the second inning with a homer to rightfield off Rangers’ starter Derek Holland.
Craig Gentry led off the third inning with his second homerun of the season to tie the game at one. Adrian Beltre singled home Ian Kinsler later in that same inning to give Texas the lead. A fifth inning single by Kinsler plated Gentry with the Rangers’ third run of the game, chasing Astros starter Erik Bedard after only 4 & 1/3 innings. David Martinez, making his major league debut, got Beltre to ground into a double-play to get out of the inning with no further damage. Martinez pitched well, allowing one run on a squeeze bunt in 2 & 1/3 innings pitched.
The Astros fought back from a 4-2 deficit by mounting a 2-out rally against Tanner Scheppers in the eighth inning. The tying run scored when Max Stassi was hit in the face by a Scheppers pitch with the bases loaded. Stassi, who was brought up yesterday to replace the injured Carlos Corporan, left the game and was sent to the hospital for further evaluation.
Chia-Jen Lo followed Martinez out of the Astros bullpen. After dispatching the Rangers on only five pitches in the eighth inning, Lo ran into control problems in the ninth. After Mitch Moreland led off the inning with a seeing-eye single to right, Lo sandwiched a couple of walks around a popout. With the bases now loaded the Astros brought leftfielder Chris Carter in to be the fifth infielder. Carter positioned himself at first base and Brett Wallace slid over several steps to his right. Wallace gave Carter his first-baseman’s mitt and motioned to the dugout for his infielder’s glove.
The defensive alignment proved to be fruitless when Andrus lofted a fly ball to medium depth leftfield. Robbie Grossman made the catch but was unable to throw out pinch-runner Adam Rosales at the plate.
It was the first run that Lo has allowed since being brought up from AA three weeks ago. The native of Taiwan was charged with his first loss as a big leaguer and Joe Nathan picked up the win after tossing a 1-2-3 ninth inning that included a pair of strikeouts.
The Astros get a much needed day off on Thursday before opening up a quick 3-game homestand against the Blue Jays on Friday.
Erik Bedard (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)