Texas Rangers

Charlie Morton rings up 14 strikeouts as Astros even series with Rangers

Houston Astros starting pitcher Charlie Morton allowed one run on four hits over seven innings Saturday against the Texas Rangers.
Houston Astros starting pitcher Charlie Morton allowed one run on four hits over seven innings Saturday against the Texas Rangers. AP

Charlie Morton must have been inspired by what he saw Friday night.

The Astros’ starter struck out a career-high 14 batters and held the Rangers to four hits over seven innings as Houston evened the series with a 6-1 win Saturday evening at Minute Maid Park.

A night before, Cole Hamels and Justin Verlander dueled for six innings in a 1-0 Rangers’ win.

Saturday’s follow-up wasn’t as equally dominant, but Rangers’ starter Doug Fister held his own admirably over 6 1/3 innings. He took the loss after allowing three runs on four hits, including two solo homers from Brian McCann and Evan Gattis.

Matt Moore faces the Astros’ Dallas Keuchel in the series finale at 1:10 p.m. Sunday.

Morton and the Astros’ bullpen held Texas to four hits, which is tied for the Rangers’ season low. The Rangers’ only run came on Ronald Guzman’s homer to right field on a 98 mph fastball in the third inning. Delino DeShields followed the homer with a double to left but Morton retired 11 of the next 12 batters and 13 of the final 15 batters he faced.

“His stuff is really good. He’s throwing 96 [mph], the ball is moving three inches,” DeShields said. “A lot of missing solid contact. He was on tonight. We couldn’t really do much with him.”

Added to Morton’s dominance was a widening strike zone at times that burned Rangers’ hitters at times, including Joey Gallo on a curve ball that nicked the outside corner to end the fourth, and Shin-Soo Choo, who was called out in his first three at-bats.

“We can argue strikes and balls but it is what it is,” DeShields said. “They got a couple of calls on the outer corners and you start chasing a little bit because you don’t want to get rung up on something close to that spot.”

The Rangers’ three-game win streak against the Astros was snapped. Morton’s velocity hovered in the 95-97 mph range and his curve ball was especially biting.

“He made it very challenging for our guys tonight,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. “He was able to get the fastball where he wanted to, he sunk it as well, but the curve ball tonight was pretty special. When a guy’s got a plus-plus curveball, it makes it tough. He’s throwing it 96-97 mph in the good areas of the strike zone, and out of the strike zone when he needs to.”

Isiah Kiner-Falefa remains on Rangers roster after Rougned Odor returns from disabled list in time for series with Houston Astros.

Astros 6, Rangers 1

Texas

001

000

000

1

4

1

Houston

001

110

03x

6

8

0

Texas<QM>

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

DeShields cf

4

0

1

0

0

0

.293

Choo dh

4

0

0

0

0

3

.239

Mazara rf

4

0

0

0

0

2

.291

Beltre 3b

4

0

0

0

0

2

.310

Gallo lf

3

0

0

0

0

3

.204

Profar ss

3

0

2

0

0

0

.235

Odor 2b

3

0

0

0

0

3

.175

Chirinos c

3

0

0

0

0

1

.175

Guzman 1b

3

1

1

1

0

2

.205



Houston<QM>

AB

R

H

BI

BB

SO

Avg.

Altuve 2b

4

0

0

0

0

2

.315

Bregman 3b

3

1

1

0

1

0

.257

Correa ss

2

1

1

2

1

0

.295

Gurriel 1b

4

1

1

0

0

0

.272

McCann c

4

1

2

1

0

0

.262

Gonzalez lf

4

0

0

0

0

1

.233

Reddick rf

3

1

1

0

1

0

.231

Gattis dh

3

1

2

2

0

0

.210

Fisher cf

3

0

0

0

0

1

.182



E—Profar (7). LOB—Texas 3, Houston 4. 2B—DeShields (4), Profar (9), Bregman (12), Gurriel (10), Reddick (3). HR—Guzman (2), off Morton; McCann (3), off Fister; Gattis (2), off Fister; Correa (6), off Barnette. RBIs—Guzman (11), Correa 2 (27), McCann (11), Gattis 2 (10). SB—Gattis (1). Runners left in scoring position—Texas 2 (Choo, Odor); Houston 2 (Bregman, McCann). RISP—Texas 0 for 2; Houston 3 for 8. Runners moved up—Gurriel. GIDP—Gurriel 2. DP—Texas 2 (Profar, Odor, Guzman), (Profar, Odor, Guzman).

Texas

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Fister, L, 1-4

6<AF>1/3

4

3

3

3

4

96

4.06

Barnette

1

3

3

2

0

0

23

4.32

Mendez

<AF>2/3

1

0

0

0

0

13

0.00

Houston

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

NP

ERA

Morton, W, 5-0

7

4

1

1

0

14

105

2.03

Harris, H, 4

1

0

0

0

0

1

12

3.86

McHugh

1

0

0

0

0

1

15

0.61

Inherited runners-scored—Barnette 1-0, Mendez 1-1. HBP—Fister (Correa). Umpires—Home, Jansen Visconti; First, Jordan Baker; Second, Jerry Layne; Third, Greg Gibson. T—2:37. A—36,482 (41,168).

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram

  Comments