ARLINGTON, Texas — In their final series of the 2021 season, the Texas Rangers and Houston Astros have traded lopsided victories. Houston won Monday night's game, 15-1. The Rangers won Tuesday night by a score of 8-1. Now on Wednesday, the Astros returned the favor with a 7-2 victory at Globe Life Field.
Rangers starter Kohei Arihara struggled mightily against an Astros lineup sans Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman. Arihara allowed six runs on eight hits with no walks, one strikeout and two home runs in four-plus innings. Even though the Japanese right-hander did not issue any free passes, Arihara struggled to command his pitches, hitting two batters.
Arihara said after the game he struggled with the mechanics behind his fastball. Manager Chris Woodward was a bit more concerned about another developing pattern with Arihara.
"The one thing that kind of stands out to me, and we've seen this a few times, when things aren't going well, everything slows down," Woodward said. "It's something he has to work on, keep the pace, almost tell himself that we need to speed it up. You could see him and Jonah [Heim] were having a tough time, along with all of our defenders. It slows the game down to a crawl. It's something he needs to get better at, as far as body language and tempo, to keep everybody invested in the game. It got a little bit too slow."
The Texas lineup was stymied by Houston starter José Urquidy. The Rangers only mustered four hits on the night, with Brock Holt's third-inning triple as one of two extra-base knocks. Yonny Hernandez drove him in with an RBI groundout for the first Rangers run of the night.
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Willie Calhoun made his first appearance since June 26 when he went on the Injured List with a fractured forearm. He had a successful return, going 2-for-4 with a single and a ninth-inning double hit to the opposite field. Calhoun later scored the Rangers second run of the ballgame after advancing on a wild pitch, then was driven home by an RBI groundout by Nathaniel Lowe.
"That was the silver lining of the day," Woodward said of Calhoun's return. "I know we got beat, but it was nice to see Willie get a couple hits there, especially with the way that last ball came off his bat to left center."
The Rangers (54-91) and Astros (85-60) wrap up their season series on Thursday night at Globe Life Field. Glenn Otto (0-1, 6.92 ERA) gets the start for the Rangers, as southpaw Framber Valdez (10-5, 3.26 ERA) takes the ball for Houston.
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