The Texas Rangers couldn’t overcome Houston Astros starter Justin Verlander and a trio of Astros relievers as they fell, 2-1, on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park.
The Rangers and Astros will turn around and play a getaway game on Sunday at 1:10 p.m., as the Rangers head to the west coast to face the Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics.
The Rangers managed 10 hits off Verlander (6-1) and relievers Phil Maton, Héctor Neris, and Ryan Pressly, who earned his fifth save. But Texas (18-21) managed just one run, which came in the eighth inning.
Adolis García was the only Rangers hitter to cash in at the plate, as he drove in Texas’ only run on a single to right field, which scored Corey Seager. García was later called out while trying to steal third, a play that was reviewed by the booth and confirmed.
The Astros (26-15) were limited to six hits by Rangers starter Jon Gray (1-2) and Rangers relievers Dennis Santana and Brett Martin. Gray went six innings in his second start since coming off the injured list, and Santana and Martin each threw scoreless innings to keep the Rangers in the game.
But Gray gave up both runs, one of which came in the first inning as Gray gave up a leadoff single to Jose Siri and then walked Michael Brantley. Gray wasn’t able to evade giving up a run, as Yordan Alvarez singled to left and drove in Brantley to give the Astros a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the first, the Rangers nearly put a run up on the board after García appeared to drive home Brad Miller on a single with one out. Miller tried to slide around Astros catcher Jason Castro.
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At first it looked like the home plate umpire called Miller out, but he was actually tapping his elbow to indicate to Castro that he didn’t touch Miller with his glove and called Miller safe.
The Astros challenged the call and it was overturned, with replay determining that Miller was actually tagged out. The Rangers then challenged whether Miller had a clear path to the plate, and that challenge was overturned, leaving the Rangers empty-handed.
Kole Calhoun then struck out to leave two runners on and allowing Verlander to escape a huge jam in the opening inning.
The Astros got their other run in the fifth on a wild pitch by Gray, one that caromed quickly off the backstop to catcher Jonah Heim, who nearly tagged out Castro.
García, Seager and Nathaniel Lowe each had two hits for Texas, while Alvarez was the only Astro with two hits.
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard