Houston locks up the series

Astros back up another solid Valdez start to secure series win over Rangers

Framber Valdez went seven innings of two-run baseball on Saturday night against the Rangers. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With the comeback win in the opener of this series to grab their third-straight win and sixth in their last eight, the Astros entered Saturday's game looking to lock up the series and hopefully continue to distance themselves atop the division. Thanks to a more steady dose of offense, they would get the victory.

Final Score: Astros 5, Rangers 2

Astros' Record: 77-52, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (9-4)

Losing Pitcher: Kolby Allard (3-11)

Houston's full-strength lineup looks strong

Houston, who had all of their runs come in one inning the night prior, spread their offense around throughout Saturday's middle game. They put up three runs in the top of the second, getting a leadoff solo homer by Yordan Alvarez to start the scoring, then later in the frame, a two-RBI single by Martin Maldonado to go in front 3-0.

Carlos Correa provided another run in the top of the third, crushing a one-out solo shot 436 feet to extend the lead to 4-0. After the Rangers scored to get on the board in the bottom of the fourth, Houston got that run back in the top of the sixth, getting a leadoff ground-rule double by Kyle Tucker, who would later score on an RBI single by Jose Altuve, making it 5-1.

Valdez has another quality outing

The run support was welcomed by Framber Valdez, who gave his team another impressive start on the mound. He allowed just one baserunner over the first three innings, a one-out single in the bottom of the third, which he erased to keep Texas scoreless to that point. He dealt with some trouble in the bottom of the fourth, loading the bases with one out on a single, hit batter, and walk.

Texas would get an RBI groundout, but Valdez did well to limit the damage to one run in that inning. After rebounding with a 1-2-3 fifth, a one-out solo homer by Adolis Garcia in the bottom of the sixth cut the lead to 5-2. Valdez went on to retire the next five batters in a row, getting through seven two-run innings of work. His final line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 85 P.

Astros secure the series

Kendall Graveman took over for Valdez in the bottom of the eighth, and despite some erratic control that resulted in two reaching base, he would get out of the inning while maintaining the three-run lead. That set up Ryan Pressly who took over in the bottom of the ninth, still ahead by three runs. Despite allowing a one-out double, he would close out the win to secure the series victory for Houston.

Up Next: The finale of this three-game series will start at 1:35 PM Central on Sunday from Arlington. Zack Greinke (11-4, 3.41 ERA) will look to get his 12th win of the season, while the Rangers are expected to give the ball to Taylor Hearn (3-4, 4.08 ERA).

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