Houston now heads out on the road

Astros outscore Rangers to take the series

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of this three-game set with the Rangers, the Astros were on the field Thursday afternoon trying to end their homestand with a series win by taking the rubber game against Texas. Here is how they fared:

Final Score: Astros 8, Rangers 4.

Record: 21-15, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Zack Greinke (3-0, 2.91 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Lance Lynn (4-2, 2.67 ERA).

Another hot start for the Astros

As they have done many times this year, the Astros put together a hot start to a game by putting up multiple runs in the first inning. In the bottom of the inning, the first three batters all reached base on aggressive early swings, the third bringing in a run on an RBI-single by Michael Brantley. With two runners still on base, Aledmys Diaz would get his season's biggest hit so far, a three-run homer to make it a 4-0 Houston lead.

Greinke throws a quality start 

The Rangers were able to chip away some at the lead against Zack Greinke, getting hits and runs off of him in the second, fourth, and sixth innings sandwiched between quick innings in the first, third, and fifth. Still, he recorded another quality start by finishing six innings and left in line for the win by holding on to the lead given to him by his offense. Greinke's final line: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 0 HR, 104 P.

Meanwhile, the Astros were able to tack on more runs to their total on an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker in the fifth and a solo home run by Martin Maldonado in the sixth, making it a 6-3 game after six frames. Cy Sneed took over on the mound for Greinke to start the seventh, and after a quick 1-2-3 inning, would return for the eighth. The Rangers would make it a two-run game against him, getting a one-out solo home run to make it 6-4.

Houston takes the series to end the homestand

Sneed would retire one more batter, then Cionel Perez entered and erased a walk and a single to get the last out of the inning. Houston was able to push the lead back to four runs in the bottom of the eighth, getting two on base to set up Michael Brantley for two more RBI in this series on a two-run double, making it 8-4. In the non-save situation, Blake Taylor took over on the mound for the top of the ninth and recorded the last three outs to wrap up the win, giving the Astros the series victory.

Up Next: With this homestand complete, Houston will now take to the road to play eleven games over the next nine days, including two doubleheaders. The road trip starts Friday at 8:10 PM Central in Los Angeles with Lance McCullers Jr. (3-2, 5.06 ERA) on the mound for the Astros opposite of Dylan Bundy (4-2, 2.47 ERA) for the Angels.

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Houston's bats have a hot night

Astros clobber Rangers to win series opener

Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

After dropping two of three in Seattle, the Astros entered the regular season's final series still waiting to clinch their playoff berth. Luckily their matchup favored them, with four games against the 19-37 Rangers, which they have done well against in recent years. Here are highlights from the opener:

Final Score: Astros 12, Rangers 4.

Record: 29-28, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Cristian Javier (5-2, 3.48 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Lance Lynn (6-3, 3.32 ERA).

Astros put up 10 on Lynn 

Houston had no trouble getting acquainted with the Rangers' new stadium, jumping out to an early lead in the top of the first inning. After a lengthy at-bat against Lance Lynn, Jose Altuve reached on a one-out single, then scored from first on a two-out RBI-triple by Alex Bregman. They'd double their lead in the next at-bat on an error, making it 2-0.

They extended that lead even more in the next inning, getting back-to-back singles to start the inning to set up a big three-run dinger by George Springer to straightaway center-field to make it 5-0. Bregman added two more RBI to his night in the top of the fifth, capitalizing on a leadoff single by Michael Brantley by hitting a two-run homer to make it a 7-0 lead. Altuve would push the total to double-digits in the top of the sixth, lifting a three-run home run of his own to make it a 10- lead.

Javier with a decent start, bullpen closes out the win

Meanwhile, Cristian Javier was doing well on the mound against the Rangers. He allowed just three baserunners through the first five innings, a double in the first, a hit batter in the second, and a single in the fifth. He would falter a bit in the bottom of the sixth, allowing a leadoff single then a two-run homer, then later in the inning a sac fly, making it 10-3 before Houston would turn to their bullpen. Javier's final line: 5.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 1 HR, 95 TP.

Luis Garcia would get the final out of the sixth then returned for the bottom of the seventh, allowing a leadoff double that would score on a two-out RBI-double, making it a six-run game before Garcia finished the frame. Brooks Raley was the next reliever and notched two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 inning in the eighth.

Josh Reddick gave Houston two more insurance runs, joining the home run barrage with a two-run homer in the top of the inning to make it 12-4 going to the bottom half. Brandon Bielak was given a low-leverage opportunity to throw in the bottom of the ninth. He erased a two-out double for a scoreless inning to wrap up the lopsided win, lowering Houston's magic number to 1.

Up Next: The second game of this four-game set between Houston and Texas will start Friday at 7:05 PM Central at Globe Life Field. The pitching battle will be Kyle Cody (1-1, 1.53 ERA) for the Rangers and Jose Urquidy (1-1, 2.78 ERA) for the Astros.

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