Houston evens the series
Brantley's early homer lifts Astros over Rangers in pitcher's duel
After a sloppy, uncharacteristic loss in the series opener, the Astros welcomed the Rangers back to Minute Maid Park on Wednesday night to try and even the series and get back in the win column. Here is how the game went:
Final Score: Astros 2, Rangers 1.
Record: 20-15, second in the AL West.
Winning pitcher: Cristian Javier (4-1, 3.35 ERA).
Losing pitcher: Kolby Allard (0-4, 5.40 ERA).
Brantley gives Javier a lead to work with
Michael Brantley and the Astros did not wait around to get a big hit in Wednesday's game. In the bottom of the first, George Springer started Houston's night at the plate with a walk, setting up a two-run home run for Brantley, making it back-to-back games with a homer, giving Houston a 2-0 lead.
Professional hitter on display. #ForTheHpic.twitter.com/BQxoIoikMv
— Houston Astros (@astros) September 3, 2020
That provided Cristian Javier with a lead to work with, and he would maintain it well. After three perfect innings, the Rangers would get their first hit and run of the night on a solo home run that snuck into the Crawford Boxes in the top of the fourth, making it a 2-1 game.
Javier rebounded well from that, allowing just one more hit while nearly completing seven innings of one-run baseball. His final line: 6.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR, 93 P.
Astros hold on to the lead to even the series
Brooks Raley would relieve Javier to complete the seventh, striking out the one batter he would face. Enoli Paredes was next out of Houston's bullpen to toss the top of the eighth and worked around a one-out single thanks to an inning-ending caught stealing by Martin Maldonado to keep it a one-run Houston lead.
Houston threatened to add insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth but would strand two runners to keep it 2-1 heading to the ninth. That set up Ryan Pressly for another save opportunity, and unlike the night before, would convert it to give the Astros the win and even the series.
Up Next: The finale of this three-game series will be an afternoon game at 1:10 PM Central on Thursday. It shapes up to be an exciting pitching matchup with Lance Lynn (4-1, 1.93 ERA) getting the start for the Rangers facing off against Zack Greinke (2-0, 2.68 ERA) for the Astros.