Prince Fielder crushed a 3-2 pitch to center field for a two-run homer in the eighth inning to lead the Texas Rangers past the Houston Astros 5-3 Monday night at Globe Life Park. The win pulled the Rangers to within a half game of the first-place Astros in the American League West.
Pitching: The Astros’ Jose Altuve jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Cole Hamels to give Houston a 1-0 lead with a home run in the first inning. Houston took a 2-1 lead in the fifth. Jake Marisnick reached with a one-out double and moved to third on a balk by Hamels. George Springer fielded a hot shot to first and threw home but Marisnick was able to belly slide safely, tagging the plate under catcher Chris Gimenez’s glove for the run. A Mike Napoli error on a shallow fly in left put two on for Carlos Correa. After Correa grounded into a fielder’s choice, Hamels got Jonathan Villar to fly out to end the inning.
The Astros tied it at 3-3 with two outs in the seventh. Colby Rasmus’ shot to first deflected off Mitch Moreland’s glove, allowing Carlos Correa to score from third. Hamels retired Evan Gattis to end the inning and strand two. Hamels left after seven innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits and a walk. Jake Diekman recorded two outs in the eighth before walking Marisnick. Keone Kela came on and walked George Springer to put two on. He fell behind Jose Altuve before getting Altuve to fly out to left to end the inning. Shawn Tolleson pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his 32nd save.
Hitting: Texas tied it at 1-1 with an unearned run in the second. Fielder reached on an error on a popup by third baseman Jed Lowrie. Mike Napoli followed with a single up the middle. After Mitch Moreland struck out and Elvis Andrus popped out Rougned Odor doubled to center field to score Fielder. Napoli was thrown out at home on a nice relay throw from shortstop Carlos Correa to end the inning. In the third, Chris Gimenez started the third with a walk and Shin-Soo Choo was hit by a pitch. After Delino DeShields struck out, a throwing error on a pickoff attempt at second by pitcher Scott Kazmir gave Texas runners on second and third with one out. But Kazmir forced infield pop ups by Adrian Beltre and Fielder to escape with the game tied 1-1.
Mitch Moreland’s two-out, two-run homer to left gave the Rangers a 3-2 lead in the sixth. Fielder’s two-run homer in the eighth snapped a 3-3 tie to give Texas the win.
Notable: Andrus has gone 45 plate appearances without a strikeout, the longest active streak in the majors ... Fielder’s homer gave him his 51st multi-hit game of the season ... it was his second homer in the past 32 games.
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760