Astros finally beat the Rangers 3-1, Darvish early exit
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Jose Altuve called his tiebreaking two-run double lucky and Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch used the term crazy when describing all the games against their instate AL West rival.
Colby Rasmus talked about a sigh of relief after the Astros finally got a win this season over the Texas Rangers - in their ninth try.
Altuve had the game-winning hit on a hard chopper past third base and down the left-field line in the seventh inning and Houston won another game started by Doug Fister, 3-1 on Wednesday night in a game from which Rangers starter Yu Darvish made an early exit.
''It feels good. It can give some momentum to keep winning games against them,'' Altuve said.
''These games here, they're crazy. Obviously, we know it can be done now in this ballpark,'' Hinch said. ''So, it's a good win for us. A lot of guys did well, from the first hitter all the way to Will Harris at the end closing the door. It was a good team win. ... But there's no reason to celebrate unless we can start to back it up a little bit more. Certainly, it's such a relief to get a win after a couple of tough losses.''
Houston had been 0-8 this season against the Rangers, and had lost 12 straight in Arlington - matching the club record for most consecutive losses in an opposing ballpark. That changed after Altuve's double off Tom Wilhelmsen (2-3).
The Astros wrap up this four-game series Thursday, among 10 games left this season against the Rangers.
Fister (6-3) got his fifth straight win over his last eight starts - all Astros victories. The right-hander had five strikeouts while allowing one run over six innings.
''For me, I don't really look at it that way,'' Fister said. ''I look at it as we continue to play good baseball as a team and go out here and be consistent.''
Will Harris worked the ninth for his second save, and 26th consecutive scoreless appearance. His 26 1-3 consecutive scoreless innings are the longest streak in the majors this season.
George Springer led off the game with his 14th homer. But after he struck out on a 63 mph breaking pitch in the fifth inning, Darvish was shaking his arm and didn't return after finishing the inning in only his third start for the Rangers since Tommy John surgery in March 2015.
The Rangers said Darvish's early exit with the game tied 1-1 was a precaution and that an examination by team physician Dr. Keith Meister revealed no issues.
''I believe that tomorrow, I think I can play catch, no problem,'' Darvish said through his interpreter. ''Everybody told me after the Tommy John surgery you go through all those small things from the different places on your body. I think it's one of those things and I'm not too concerned about that.''
Springer and Altuve had two hits. In 16 games since Springer took over in the leadoff spot, and Altuve dropped to second, they are hitting a combined .353 (48 of 136). ... The Rangers had their season-best five-game winning streak snapped. ... Ian Desmond had an RBI groundout for the Texas run in the third, after the center fielder threw out Jason Castro trying to score in the top of the inning.
Rangers: 3B Adrian Beltre felt tightness in his left hamstring after rounding second base in the eighth inning. Jurickson Profar took over as a pinch-runner and then played third base. The Rangers said Beltre would be re-evaluated Thursday, already a scheduled day off for the 37-year-old third baseman. ... C Robinson Chirinos is expected to be back with the Rangers on Thursday, the same day he is eligible to come off the DL (broken right forearm). It was unclear when exactly he would be reinstated from the DL.
Astros: RHP Collin McHugh (5-4) pitches against Texas for the first time this season. He has 35 wins overall since Aug. 1, 2014.
Rangers: LHP Martin Perez (4-4) goes for his fourth consecutive win. He is facing the Astros for the first time this season.