Alvarez and Caratini homer as Astros beat Rangers for a series split

Alvarez and Caratini homer as Astros beat Rangers for a series split
The Astros are back in action Tuesday night versus the Royals. Composite Getty Image.

Yordan Alvarez homered for the second game in a row, among his three hits as Houston rallied from an early deficit to beat the Texas Rangers 10-5 on Monday night after Astros scheduled starter Framber Valdez was scratched because of elbow soreness.

No. 9 batter Victor Caratini added a three-run homer as the Astros earned a split in the four-game series that was the first this season between the AL West rivals.

Seth Martinez (1-0) worked 3 2/3 scoreless innings in relief as the first of four pitchers after Blair Henley retired only one of the nine batters he faced. Henley's major league debut starting in place of Valdez, who returned to Houston to be evaluated by team doctors.

“We just tried to attack the zone, attack the hitters as best as possible,” said Caratini, the catcher who navigated all of those pitchers. “Then after we tied and took the lead, our biggest goal was for all the pitchers that came in to throw the least amount of pitches as possible.”

Tayler Scott and Brandon Bielak each worked two scoreless innings before Bryan Abreu pitched the ninth.

“Phenomenal job. That was a team win,” Astros manager Joe Espada said. “We needed those guys to step up, and they did big time.”

The Astros led 2-0 before Henley threw his first pitch, but the 26-year-old from nearby Fort Worth allowed five runs before getting an out on his 34th pitch. His first seven pitches were balls before he allowed three consecutive singles, and then with the bases loaded walked a batter and hit another to force in two runs. Jared Walsh then blooped a two-run single to shallow left to give the World Series champions a 5-2 lead.

“Yeah, there were nerves ... tried to breathe as much as I could,” Henley said. “Just make adjustments is the main key. And when you don’t make adjustments, it ends up piling up on you.”

Alvarez got Houston within 5-4 with his fourth homer of the season, a two-run shot that he pulled 431 feet deep into the seats in right field off Texas starter Andrew Heaney (0-2). Alvarez greeted reliever Brock Burke with an RBI double in the fourth that tied the game at 5-5, and Kyle Tucker immediately followed with a tiebreaking two-run single.

Heaney was charged with six runs over 3 2/3 innings. The left-hander allowed four hits while walking three and striking out two.

“I felt a little off again, but physically I feel fine,” Heaney said. “It’s just frustrating.”


The Rangers and Astros open a three-game series Friday night in Houston, so will play seven of their 13 games against each other in the first 2 1/2 weeks this season. Both teams finished 90-72 last year, but Houston won the AL West title with the head-to-head tiebreaker by going 9-4. The Rangers won the AL pennant after a seven-game American Championship Series against the Astros when the road team won every game.


Astros: Manager Joe Espada said RHP Justin Verlander (right shoulder inflammation) “woke up feeling well” a day after throwing 65 pitches for Triple-A Sugar Land in his first rehab start. Verlander will throw on the side Wednesday and make another rehab start in the minors this weekend before rejoining the Astros.

Rangers: Rookie INF Justin Foscue (left oblique strain) was placed on the 10-day injured list, and INF Davis Wendzel had his contract selected from Triple-A Round Rock. 3B Josh Jung (right wrist fracture) was transferred from the 10-day IL to the 60-day IL.


Houston opens a three-game series at Kansas City with Cristian Javier (1-0, 0.00 ERA) on the mound Tuesday night.

Nathan Eovaldi (1-0, 1.38) makes his third start of the season for Texas in the series opener at home against Oakland.

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Justin Verlander will start for the Astros on Friday night. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images.

Houston Astros (22-28, third in the AL West) vs. Oakland Athletics (21-31, fourth in the AL West)

Oakland, California; Friday, 9:40 p.m. EDT

PITCHING PROBABLES: Astros: Justin Verlander (2-2, 3.97 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 26 strikeouts); Athletics: Ross Stripling (1-8, 5.19 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 32 strikeouts)

BETMGM SPORTSBOOK: LINE Astros -170, Athletics +142; over/under is 8 1/2 runs

BOTTOM LINE: The Oakland Athletics begin a three-game series at home against the Houston Astros on Friday.

Oakland has a 21-31 record overall and a 12-14 record in home games. The Athletics have hit 65 total home runs to rank third in the AL.

Houston is 22-28 overall and 8-13 in road games. The Astros have a 13-4 record in games when they did not allow a home run.

The teams match up Friday for the fifth time this season. The Astros lead the season series 4-0.

TOP PERFORMERS: Brent Rooker has 11 home runs, 17 walks and 32 RBI while hitting .286 for the Athletics. Max Schuemann is 12-for-35 with a double and two RBI over the past 10 games.

Kyle Tucker leads Houston with 17 home runs while slugging .638. Alex Bregman is 9-for-38 with three home runs and six RBI over the last 10 games.

LAST 10 GAMES: Athletics: 2-8, .225 batting average, 5.25 ERA, outscored by 27 runs

Astros: 7-3, .272 batting average, 3.13 ERA, outscored opponents by 20 runs

INJURIES: Athletics: Esteury Ruiz: 10-Day IL (wrist), Darell Hernaiz: 60-Day IL (ankle), Alex Wood: 15-Day IL (rotator cuff), Paul Blackburn: 15-Day IL (foot), Joseph Boyle: 15-Day IL (back), Freddy Tarnok: 60-Day IL (hip), Luis Medina: 60-Day IL (knee), Sean Newcomb: 60-Day IL (knee), Aledmys Diaz: 60-Day IL (calf), Miguel Andujar: 10-Day IL (knee), Ken Waldichuk: 60-Day IL (elbow), Trevor Gott: 60-Day IL (elbow)

Astros: Oliver Ortega: 60-Day IL (elbow), Bennett Sousa: 60-Day IL (shoulder), Penn Murfee: 60-Day IL (elbow), Luis Garcia: 60-Day IL (elbow), Lance McCullers Jr.: 60-Day IL (elbow), Jose Urquidy: 15-Day IL (forearm), Kendall Graveman: 60-Day IL (elbow)

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