Wandy Rodriguez helps Rangers to 7-1 win over Astros
HOUSTON (AP) In 7 1/2 seasons with the Astros, Wandy Rodriguez pitched much better in Houston than he did on the road.
Now with the Texas Rangers, Rodriguez found success at Minute Maid Park once again.
Kyle Blanks had three hits, including a homer, and Carlos Peguero added a two-run shot to back up a solid start by Rodriguez as the Rangers beat the Astros 7-1 on Tuesday night to win consecutive games for the first time this season.
''I feel very, very comfortable on this mound,'' Rodriguez said. ''For 7 1/2 years, it was great.''
The Rangers also won their first series of the year after a victory Monday night that snapped Houston's 10-game winning streak. They entered as the only team in the majors not to have won a series or two games in a row.
''We knew that we weren't going to go all year without putting back-to-back wins together,'' first-year manager Jeff Banister said. ''You'd like to have it happen earlier, but we'll take it anytime we can get it.''
In his third start, Rodriguez (1-1) allowed three hits and one run - both season bests - in a season-high eight innings to get his first win since May 26, 2013, with the Pirates. The former Astros hurler was signed to a minor league deal with Texas in April after he was released by the Braves at the end of spring training.
''It's the fastball in play for strikes, but more than anything else it's the breaking balls that he threw for strikes also,'' Banister said. ''He didn't waste a lot of his pitches. He moved the fastball around. Classic Wandy.''
Texas jumped on Scott Feldman early, tagging him for four runs in the first inning on an RBI double by Prince Fielder and Peguero's first home run of the season. Feldman (2-3) allowed nine hits and six runs in a season-low three innings for the loss.
''I just went out there and did terrible,'' Feldman said. ''I've got to try to iron that out in between my next start.''
Luis Valbuena hit his team-leading seventh home run in the first inning, but the Astros managed just two hits the rest of the way.
Rodriguez started 218 games for the Astros from 2005-12 and Feldman spent several seasons as a reliever for the Rangers before starting 101 games for them from 2008-12. It's the first time opposing starters both had 100-plus starts for the other team since Sept. 12, 2011, when Philadelphia's Roy Oswalt faced Houston's Brett Myers, according to information provided by the Rangers from the Elias Sports Bureau.
Shin-Soo Choo hit a leadoff double before a bunt single by Elvis Andrus. Fielder's double drove in both to make it 2-0. Fielder was thrown out at home on a one-out single by Blanks before the two-run homer by Peguero pushed the lead to 4-0.
Houston had a chance to add to its lead with two outs and the bases loaded in the second, but Rodriguez retired Jose Altuve to end the threat. It was the first of 19 straight that Rodriguez retired before he was replaced by Shawn Tolleson for the ninth.
Adrian Beltre had an RBI double in the third and Carlos Corporan's sacrifice fly extended the lead to 6-1 later in the inning.
Blanks hit a solo home run off Kevin Chapman in the fifth inning.
Houston right fielder George Springer was being evaluated for a concussion after crashing face-first into the padded wall in right field making the catch on a liner hit by Beltre for the last out of the seventh inning. Springer's hat sailed off his head and he fell to the ground, but managed to hold onto the ball. He got up slowly and walked off the field before being replaced by Jonathan Villar for the eighth inning.
''He did hit his head on the wall,'' manager A.J. Hinch said. ''You could tell he was a little bit dazed. He was going full speed when he did it. That's complete disregard for anything but trying to catch the ball.''
Rangers: OF Leonys Martin was out of the lineup a night after injuring his wrist diving to try and make a catch. X-rays were negative and he's listed as day to day. Banister said that Martin was sore Tuesday, but could have played defense if he was needed.
Houston's Samuel Deduno will make his second start of the season against right-hander Colby Lewis when these teams wrap up the series Wednesday night. Deduno started the season in the bullpen before throwing four innings in his first start since last season in a 4-3 victory over Seattle on Friday. He allowed just one run on three hits, but did not stay in long enough to qualify for the win.