Dallas Keuchel struck out 10 Texas Rangers in seven innings Sunday, and a two-out error by Elvis Andrus in the second inning opened the door to two unearned runs in a 4-2 Houston Astros victory.
Martin Perez allowed two runs (none earned) in six innings, but struggled after the Andrus throwing error. Perez needed 19 more pitches, allowing a single, a walk and a two-run double before striking out Jose Altuve. The Astros added a third unearned run in the eighth on a two-out passed ball.
The Rangers scored in the first against Keuchel, but then had only one hit over the next six innings.
The loss reduced the Rangers’ lead in the American League West to 2 ½ games with seven remaining, all at home, and the magic number held at five. Houston as six games remaining, all on the road.
Pitching: Perez was as good as he has been in some time. … The left-hander pitched around a leadoff double in the first, thanks to second baseman Rougned Odor’s heady play of throwing to third to get Jose Altuve as he tried to advance on a grounder up the middle. … The Andrus error, which would have ended the second, appeared to unnerve Perez, who needed 19 more pitches to end the inning. In the process, he surrendered a 1-0 lead on a two-run double by Jake Marisnick. … But that was all Perez surrendered over six innings. He wiggled out of another jam in the sixth and was pulled at 92 pitches. … Ross Ohlendorf entered and surrendered a leadoff homer to Chris Carter. … The Astros got their third unearned run of the game in the eighth when Carlos Gomez scored from third on a two-out passed ball by Bobby Wilson, who had entered at the start of the inning.
Hitting: The Rangers scored in the first inning in all three games in the series. Their run Sunday came after a one-out single by Shin-Soo Choo, followed by a walk to Adrian Beltre, a wild pitch and a Prince Fielder ground out. … Dallas Keuchel needed 27 pitches in the first, but after walking Andrus with one out in the second, he put the Rangers’ bats to sleep. … Keuchel retired 15 straight batters, eight via strikeout, from the second to the seventh inning, a string that ended on a soft single to center by Mike Napoli. … Rougned Odor, the first batter to not face Keuchel, started the eighth with a triple and scored two batters later on a grounder by Delino DeShields.