Tough loss for Houston
Astros force extras before Rangers walk it off in series opener
After starting this road trip with a 2-1 series win over the Oakland A's to regain the lead in the AL West, Houston returned to Texas to face another division opponent: the Rangers at Globe Life Field. After trailing most of the game, the Astros would tie the game late, forcing extra innings, but the Rangers would pull out the win in the tenth to hand Houston the loss.
Final Score (10 innings): Rangers 7, Astros 5
Astros' Record: 26-19, tied for first in the AL West
Winning Pitcher: Taylor Hearn (2-1)
Losing Pitcher: Bryan Abreu (2-3)
Tyler Ivey makes his debut
Making his major-league debut close to his hometown of Rowlett, Texas, Tyler Ivey tried to make it a memorable first start. While it wasn't an incredibly impressive outing, he could still provide his team some innings, though allowed a few runs. The first came on a solo home run by Brock Holt in the bottom of the third, then two more came in the bottom of the fourth on a two-RBI double by Adolis Garcia, bringing in two runners that reached on a walk and a single.
He returned in the bottom of the fifth, allowing a leadoff single before getting his last two outs as Dusty Baker would go to his bullpen to bring in Kent Emanuel to face some Texas lefties. Emanuel would allow an RBI single to his first batter, with the run charged to Ivey, making his debut line: 4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 79 P.
Houston's offense starts slow before clawing back into it
Houston managed to bring in just one run over that span, getting runners on base to set up an RBI fielder's choice by Aledmys Diaz in the top of the second. Still down 4-1 in the top of the seventh, the Astros wasted a golden opportunity, getting the bases loaded against Texas' bullpen with Kyle Gibson finally out of the game but stranded all three runners.
After Emanuel finished the fifth, he returned for one out in the sixth before Joe Smith would finish that frame. Brandon Bielak was next out of the bullpen, tossing a scoreless bottom of the seventh. Houston clawed back into it in the top of the eighth, getting RBI hits from Carlos Correa and Jason Castro to get back within a run at 4-3. Jose Altuve then tied the game, getting an RBI single to extend his hitting streak to fifteen games and knot things up 4-4.
Astros go ahead, but Rangers walk it off
Brooks Raley entered to try and keep it a tie game in the bottom of the eighth. He did his job, retiring three batters on nine pitches to send things to the ninth. After getting two on base in the top of the inning but coming away empty, the Astros brought in Ryan Pressly in the bottom of the ninth to try and force extra innings, which he would do. Carlos Correa began the top of the tenth on second base as the free runner, and with one out, would score from there on a groundball turned error, putting Houston one run ahead and leaving runners on the corners.
They would strand those two runners and brought in Bryan Abreu in the bottom of the inning to try and finish things off. After a sac fly moved the free runner to third, Abreu would get a strikeout for the second out. A two-out walk brought Garcia to the plate for Texas, who would hit a walk-off three-run homer, handing Houston a loss to start this series.
Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will be a 3:05 PM Central start on Saturday. Lance McCullers Jr. (3-1, 2.70 ERA) will look to get his sixth quality start in a row for the Astros, while the Rangers will send Jordan Lyles (2-3, 5.93 ERA) to the mound.