Rangers seek sweep of Astros as Smith returns

Ross Houston
July 14, 2019

The two-time All-Star entered the game with a.927 OPS and 23 home runs for the AL West-leading Astros. The Rangers are 8-2 in their last 10 games vs. a right-handed starter, 5-2 in their last 7 home games and 7-20 in their last 27 during game 4 of a series. With a chance to win the game with two outs in the ninth inning, he lined a ball up the middle and then saw Houston center fielder George Springer on a full sprint toward the ball.

The Astros got an Alex Bregman home run, his 24th, in the fifth and a run-scoring fielder's choice by Springer in the sixth to reclaim the lead, but Miley surrendered a home run to Delino DeShields in the seventh. Yuli Gurriel is 13-for-38 with two doubles, seven home runs and 15 RBIs over the last 10 games for Houston.

Now sitting seven games ahead of their closest competition, which is the Oakland Athletics, the Astros seem to have one of the cushiest seats out of all of the AL and NL division leaders at this point. Wade Miley (7-4, 3.28) pitches for the Astros. Three of the four hits Cole allowed were solo homers to Shin-Soo Choo, Santana and Gallo. Verlander should have a bounce back performance here, especially with him having a.214 batting average and 141 strikeouts in 411 career at bats against current Rangers.

"We could easily talk about missed opportunities or mistakes, but we hung in there and I'm proud of our guys for being able to just get through the game and get a win, in a game where we didn't play our best", manager AJ Hinch said. Cole has 42 strikeouts over 22 1/3 innings in four starts against Texas this season.

Bregman needed four stitches on his chin and had to clear concussion protocol after getting hit by a groundball that took a nasty hop when he was playing shortstop in the third inning of the series opener Thursday. RHP Joe Smith was activated from the 60-day injured list.

Choo had a leadoff homer for the Rangers, and Santana's one-out blast in the second tied the game at 2-2. The 35-year-old pitcher had surgery last December to fix a ruptured Achilles tendon in his left leg. Pence was the DH for Double-A Frisco for the second night in a row, and went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.

The win pulled the Rangers, who haven't made the postseason since 2016, within 1 1/2 games of the American League's second Wild Card spot.

Santana homered off Astors starting pitcher Gerrit Cole earlier in the game.

The Texas Rangers hit five home runs in a comeback victory over the rival Houston Astros at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas. Houston has hit 146 home runs this season, seventh in the Major League Baseball.

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