Texas Rangers

Astros hold on against Rangers but Shin-Soo Choo stretches on-base streak to 43 games

Devoted fans of last-place teams need something to keep their interest alive, especially when it's 102 degrees at first pitch.

The last-place Rangers, who opened a two-game set against the Astros on Tuesday night at Globe Life Park, have multiple intriguing options to keep fans engaged.

Of course none of them take the place of winning games and reaching the post-season. But that's not happening in 2018 and 2019 has all the earmarks of a full-on rebuild season.

Tuesday's 5-3 loss to the Astros included just enough to keep the Rangers' fans among the 40,165 in announced attendance from bailing for the nearest walk-in freezer.

Shin-Soo Choo extended his major-league best on-base streak to 43 games, the third-longest in Rangers' history. He's one shy of Otis Nixon (44 games in 1995) and three shy of Julio Franco's record 46-game stretch in 1993.

Choo, who was awarded his Rangers' June Player of the Month honor before first pitch, walked twice and singled twice. He's been on base 96 times in the 43-game stretch that began May 13.

It's the longest such streak in the majors since the Braves' Freddie Freeman went 46 games in 2016. The last time an American League hitter had a longer streak was the Twins' Joe Mauer in 2015.

Adrian Beltre, the future Hall of Fame third baseman, singled in the sixth to give him 3,108 hits in his career. He's two shy of No. 20 Dave Winfield on the all-time list. He's eight from passing Alex Rodriguez for No. 19 all-time.

But it's not all about the aging veterans still doing it and providing enticing options for potential trade partners leading up to the July 31 trade deadline.

Rookie first baseman Ronald Guzman returned from the seven-day concussion protocol and had two hits, including a double. He also made a dazzling catch on a line drive in which he caught George Springer off the bag for an inning-ending double play in the sixth.

Even starting pitcher Austin Bibens-Dirkx, who was tagged with five runs on six hits, including two home runs in the first three innings, toughed it out to go six and keep the Rangers within 5-2.

The Rangers' offense settled for single runs in the third and fifth against Astros' starter Dallas Keuchel, who went seven and earned the win.

The Rangers had the bases loaded with one out in the eighth but had to settle for one run when first baseman Yuli Gurriel made a diving stop on Rougned Odor's chopper through the right side and threw to second for the force out. That scored a run to cut the Astros' lead to 5-3.

Joey Gallo, pinch-hitting for Ryan Rua, against Hector Rondon who was hitting 99 mph, had arguably one of his best at-bats of the season. Gallo fouled off seven pitches during the the 12-pitch at-bat before laying off an outside fastball for a walk.

Although Robinson Chirinos struck out to end the inning, Gallo's patience at the plate was definitely a sign of growth. That's something else to keep fans intrigued.

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