This is the Astros’ 2nd series against Texas in Arlington this month, losing the first two out of three. Game one of this series was all Houston.
The first time these two teams met this season, the Astros seemed a little out of sync. But this isn’t the same team the Rangers played the first go-round. This is the team that has won eleven out of their last twelve games. The team that played like a finely tuned machine in their 7-2 victory over the Rangers.
Houston didn’t waste any time, as soon as the green flag was waved, the Astros hit the ground running. George Springer led off the game with double off of left-handed pitcher Drew Smyly. Jose Altuve then came up and followed that with a home run down the left field line, his eighth blast of the season. The next pitch Alex Bregman hit a 417 foot shot to deep left-center field making it 3-0 before the first out was recorded.
In the second inning, Robinson Chirinos led off with a single to center field. Two outs later Chirinos reached second base on a Smyly wild pitch. Then with Altuve up to bat again, he hits a single to shallow left center scoring Chirinos for his team-leading 16th RBI. Astros 4-0.
In the meantime, Justin Verlander was enjoying pitching with the lead and was able to get through seven innings after pitching a little more conservatively in the latter few innings. “I just kind of pulled back a little bit,” Verlander said. “Just (try to) hit some spots and try to get deep into the game. I had a decently high pitch count after three innings, around 50 or so, so I knew if I wanted to go seven innings or more I had to be more efficient with pitch count and these boys let me do that with the amount of runs they scored.”
Houston would score three more runs in the fifth, starting off with three straight doubles by Michael Brantley, Carlos Correa, and Yuli Gurriel, with Brantley and Correa scoring. Tyler White then came up to bat and struck out swinging for the third time in the game with runners on base. Chirinos then singled sending Gurriel to third and two batters later Springer would double again scoring Gurriel. Astros 7, Rangers 0.
The Rangers would finally get on board in the sixth with a leadoff home run by Danny Santana off of Verlander, the lone earned run he would surrender on the night. The only other run scored was in the bottom of the ninth when Reymin Guduan gave up a homer to Joey Gallo. Astros win 7-2.
The teams will meet again tonight in Arlington with a match-up between Gerrit Cole and Adrian Sampson. Sampson gave up one run to the Astros in relief earlier in the season and in his first start of the season he ceded seven runs in four innings against Oakland. Cole is 1-2 on the season but has a 3.24 ERA and has 36 Ks in 25 innings.