Astros get shutout and drop series to Rangers

Astros daily report: Rangers 4, Astros 0

Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Houston faced the Rangers on Wednesday night with the winner taking the series win. Here's how it went:

Final Score: Rangers 4, Astros 0

Record: 2-5, fourth in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Mike Minor (1-1).

Losing pitcher: Gerrit Cole (0-2).

Star of the game: There wasn't a true star in this game for the Astros considering the bad night, but Jose Altuve did get his second multi-hit game of the year, going two for four with a couple of singles.

Notes: It was the Rangers who struck first in the game, getting a couple of hits off of Gerrit Cole in the bottom of the first to grab an early 1-0 lead. A few egregious pitch calls that went against the Astros stirred some arguments in the second inning, resulting in A.J. Hinch being ejected from the game. After rebounding well from the early run in the next couple of innings, Cole would give up a few more hits in the fourth, expanding the Rangers' lead to 3-0 before his night ended at six innings, with the three runs allowed to go with nine strikeouts. Josh James would come in from the bullpen, looking great overall but allowed a solo homer to add on to the Rangers lead at 4-0. After continued poor calls at the plate, Houston would be unable to get anything going offensively, getting shutout the first time this year, dropping the series 2-1.

Up next: The Astros get their first day off in the early season on Thursday, a chance to regroup and turn things around in front of their home crowd in their home opener. First pitch in Friday night's series opener with the A's will be at 7:10 PM and will pit starter Collin McHugh for Houston against Frankie Montas for Oakland.

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After dropping the middle game to the Rangers to split the first two games, the Astros looked for an improved offensive showing in the finale on Thursday night to take the series. Here is a rundown of the rubber game:

Final Score: Astros 2, Rangers 1.

Record: 25-25, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Framber Valdez (4-3, 3.82 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Jordan Lyles (1-5, 7.07 ERA).

Valdez another Houston pitcher to thrive against Rangers

Much like Jose Urquidy on Tuesday and Lance McCullers JR. on Wednesday, Framber Valdez put up an excellent pitching line on Thursday against the Rangers. After allowing two singles in the first and a single in the second, he would settle in and hold the Rangers to just one baserunner, which came via a walk through six frames.

He would try to get through the seventh, but after a long at-bat and one-out double, Dusty Baker would stop his night and go to the bullpen. Unfortunately, that double would end up scoring as Josh James would allow an RBI-single, charged to Valdez, before finishing the inning. Along the way, Valdez was able to ring up eleven Rangers. His final line: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 11 K, 0 HR, 100 P.

Kyle Tucker gets the big hit of the night

Luckily, Houston was still in the lead after the Rangers' run, thanks to a big hit by Kyle Tucker back in the second inning. After Alex Bregman reached base on a walk to become the first runner for the Astros, Kyle Tucker would break out of his recent slump with a two-run home run, putting Houston ahead 2-0 at the time.

Jordan Lyles was otherwise handling the Astros just like Kyle Gibson the night prior, who threw a complete-game shutout. Other than the Tucker homer, Lyles allowed another hit in the second and one in the third before retiring the next 12 Astros in order before an error in the seventh broke that streak, giving Houston their first baserunner since two outs in the third.

Houston takes the series and moves back up to .500

Josh James returned to the mound to start the eighth, and he would get a 1-2-3 inning against the top of Texas' lineup, including back-to-back strikeouts to end it. After another scoreless inning by Houston at the plate, that would set up a save opportunity in the top of the ninth. The opportunity would go to Brooks Raley, and he would notch the save with a scoreless inning, giving Houston the series and moving them back up to .500 at 25-25.

Up Next: The Astros' final three regular-season games played at Minute Maid Park in 2020 are this weekend in a series against the Diamondbacks. In Friday's 7:10 PM opener, Zack Greinke (3-2, 3.77 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston while Zac Gallen (1-2, 3.15 ERA) will be the starter for Arizona.

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