Texas Rangers

Astros edge Rangers as Odor comes up empty

Elvis Andrus tips cap to Astros' bullpen

Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus, who had three hits Saturday, said the Astros' bullpen is one of the reasons they've been so good in 2017 (Video by Stefan Stevenson).
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Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus, who had three hits Saturday, said the Astros' bullpen is one of the reasons they've been so good in 2017 (Video by Stefan Stevenson).

To pin the Texas Rangers’ latest loss, their fourth in five games on this homestand, solely on Rougned Odor’s back isn’t entirely fair.

Odor wasn’t the only Rangers batter who had multiple chances to drive in important runs. Jonathan Lucroy was right there behind Odor also swinging and missing to cool scoring threats.

Odor didn’t throw a single pitch in the Astros’ four-run third inning. Andrew Cashner threw all 33 pitches.

Odor, though, is the one batting fifth in the Rangers’ lineup and not producing as a hitter in the middle of the order should. Just as the game somehow kept finding Sam Dyson, it continues to find Odor.

The second baseman came up empty four times in key situations, stranding the tying run three times and ending the game as the potential winning run, and the Texas Rangers couldn’t complete their comeback from an early four-run deficit in a 6-5 loss to the Houston Astros.

“It’s been a challenge, a guy that was so good for us last year and good for us in stretches this year,” manager Jeff Banister said. “Hitters go through certain stretches, and this one is, obviously, one that is challenging.”

.203 Rougned Odor’s batting average after striking out four times Saturday

Odor struck out in four of his five at-bats, including in the final three to strand six runners. Two of the six were in scoring position.

His average dropped to .203 — he reached on an infield single in his second at-bat — and he is batting .186 (39 for 204) in his past 50 games.

Banister said that the Rangers have stuck with Odor in the fifth spot this week to give him a chance to hit behind Adrian Beltre. That served Odor well last season, as he launched many of his team-high 33 homers after Beltre batted.

But Odor is 2 for 18 with Beltre in the lineup since Monday, when Odor’s eight-game hitting streak and career-best 14-game on-base streak were snapped. The Astros have pitched around Beltre two times in the first two games of the series to face Odor to end a Rangers threat.

It worked each time.

“He’s been through some challenges before,” Banister said. “I’m sure it doesn’t feel good for anyone else. Anytime you have situations like that that you’re not producing like at a rate that you’re used to, the success you know you’re capable of having, again, it’s challenging.”

Texas Rangers manager Jeff Banister has confidence in the struggling Rougned Odor and didn't have much issue with how Andrew Cashner pitched Saturday during a 6-5 loss (video by Jeff Wilson).

In Odor’s defense, he was facing the front-runner for the AL Cy Young, Dallas Keuchel, on Friday and two of the league’s top relievers early this season. But his at-bats haven’t been competitive, and the results have been predictable.

He struck out to end the first inning with Elvis Andrus at third base with two outs and the Rangers up 1-0.

Down 5-4 in the fifth after Andrus’ two-run double and an RBI single by Beltre, Odor struck out with Nomar Mazara at second base as the potential tying run. Lucroy fanned to end the inning.

The same thing happened in the seventh with Andrus at second and Beltre at first after a walk. Odor and Lucroy both went down swinging.

Finally in the ninth, Beltre again singled home Andrus to trim a 6-4 deficit to one run. Odor jumped ahead in the count 2-0, but struck out three pitches later to clinch the Rangers’ ninth loss in their past 11 games.

Odor, who has started all 57 games this season, could be do for a day off that would serve as a mental recharge as much as a physical one. The Rangers could also decide to drop him in the lineup, but Odor is still going to play.

“This is a guy that we feel confident enough in that he is a mainstay in our lineup, that he is a guy that will be able to work through,” Banister said. “We assess the lineup every single day. We assess everybody every single day. We put the lineup out there on the field that we feel like gives us the best opportunity to put runs on the board and score runs for us.”

Cashner quickly surrendered the Rangers’ 1-0 lead as Carlos Beltran started the second with a home run. Cashner retired the first batter in the third before trouble ensued.

The next six Astros reached, five via hits, and four scored before Cashner retired his next batter. Only one of the balls was hit particularly hard, and Banister thought Cashner pitched well in the long inning.

Down 5-1, Cashner recovered nicely and didn’t allow another Astros run in his final three innings. It wasn’t easy, as Houston had at least one base runner in scoring position each inning, but Cashner did all he could to give the offense a chance.

“For me, it’s just about executing my pitch, and once the ball leaves my hand it’s kind of out of my control,” Cashner said. “I thought I got the result I wanted. I just didn’t get the end result. I’m not really too down. It’s just keep making pitches, and I was one pitch away the whole inning from getting out if it and it just didn’t happen to go that way.”

The Rangers mounted a comeback in the fifth, an inning that started with a walk to Ryan Rua and an error on Carlos Correa. Andrus, who went 3 for 4 with three RBI and a walk, followed two batters later with a two-run double.

He scored two batters later as Beltre, who went 2 for 4 with two RBI, singled to left field.

But then the game again found Odor, who declined comment after the game.

“I know how he feels,” Andrus said. “The only thing I learned from Adrian and great hitters that I played with is keep it simple. Sometimes we think so much about our swing not working and we go away from seeing the ball and hitting it. As soon as he can do that I believe he’ll be back to swinging and hitting the ball fine.”

Houston

014

000

001

6

12

1

Texas

100

030

001

5

9

1

Houston AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Springer cf-rf

5

1

2

0

0

0

.272

Reddick rf-lf

4

1

0

0

1

0

.266

Altuve 2b

5

2

3

1

0

0

.329

Correa ss

5

1

1

1

0

2

.310

Beltran dh

5

1

3

3

0

0

.255

Gonzalez 1b

4

0

2

0

1

0

.313

McCann c

4

0

0

0

0

0

.242

Bregman 3b

3

0

0

0

1

1

.254

Aoki lf

3

0

1

0

0

0

.256

Marisnick cf

1

0

0

0

0

1

.268

Totals 39

6

12

5

3

4

Texas AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Choo dh

5

1

1

0

0

2

.250

Andrus ss

4

2

3

3

1

1

.305

Mazara rf

4

0

0

0

1

4

.277

Beltre 3b

4

0

2

2

1

0

.421

DeShields pr

0

0

0

0

0

0

.267

Odor 2b

5

0

1

0

0

4

.203

Lucroy c

4

0

1

0

0

2

.258

Gallo lf-1b

4

0

0

0

0

1

.202

Napoli 1b

1

0

0

0

0

1

.192

Rua lf

2

1

1

0

1

1

.209

Hoying cf

4

1

0

0

0

2

.205

Totals 37

5

9

5

4

18

E—Correa (4), Odor (4). LOB—Houston 9, Texas 9. 2B—Springer (8), Andrus (15). HR—Beltran (7), off Cashner; Altuve (8), off Kela. RBIs—Altuve (28), Correa (38), Beltran 3 (21), Andrus 3 (32), Beltre 2 (5). SB—Gonzalez (3), Andrus (13), Hoying (2). Runners left in scoring position—Houston 6 (Reddick, Altuve 2, Bregman 3); Texas 6 (Choo, Odor, Lucroy 2, Gallo, Hoying). RISP—Houston 4 for 16; Texas 4 for 17. Runners moved up—Reddick 2, Beltre, Gallo, Lucroy, Choo.

Houston

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

McCullers

4 1/3

6

4

3

2

8

96

2.71

Devenski, W, 4-3

1 2/3

1

0

0

0

3

27

2.67

Gregerson, H, 10

 1/3

1

0

0

1

1

12

5.57

Harris, H, 11

 2/3

0

0

0

0

2

9

2.31

Hoyt, H, 4

1

0

0

0

0

2

12

2.81

Giles, S, 15-16

1

1

1

1

1

2

24

3.63

Texas

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Cashner, L, 2-5

6

11

5

5

1

2

99

3.39

Leclerc

1

0

0

0

1

1

15

2.13

Kela

1 1/3

1

1

1

1

1

22

3.38

Claudio

 2/3

0

0

0

0

0

10

2.84

Inherited runners-scored—Devenski 2-0, Harris 2-0. WP—McCullers 2, Cashner. Umpires—Home, Angel Hernandez; First, Ryan Blakney; Second, John Tumpane; Third, Ted Barrett. T—3:46. A—44,168 (48,114).

Rangers vs. Astros

2:05 p.m. Sunday, FSSW

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