Houston at Texas

Scoreboard
Houston (51-108)000300000382
Texas (87-71) «00150100x771

Rangers keep pace in wild-card chase, Astros lose 108th

CBSSports.com wire reports
  •  

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Texas Rangers keep winning, giving themselves a chance to reach the playoffs for the fourth season in a row.

They're just not getting any help while running out of games.

Leonys Martin hit a three-run double, Ian Kinsler hit a home run and the Rangers beat the Houston Astros 7-3 on Wednesday night, a victory they needed just to keep pace while chasing in the AL wild-card race.

"We put ourselves in this position. We have to win the games, we've got to get help from someone else," Kinsler said. "The best we can do is win four more games."

The Astros lost their 12th in a row and set a team record with their 108th of the season. The Rangers completed a three-game sweep and finished 17-2 with 11 consecutive victories against their instate rival.

"It's one of those things where we want to win, but we have to take account of what we've done," first-year Astros manager Bo Porter said. "Nobody's going to feel sorry for us."

The Rangers remained a game behind Cleveland for the AL's second wild-card spot -- Tampa Bay is a game ahead of the Indians. Texas has four games left in the regular season, with the series opener at home against the Los Angeles Angels on Thursday night.

"You just get the mentality of taking care of the business that's in front of you," manager Ron Washington said. "If we can continue to win ballgames, I don't care what they do. And if they win out the streak and we win out the string also, then that's just the way it is."

Rookie left-hander Martin Perez (10-5) struck out eight over seven innings.

The bases-loaded double by Leonys Martin was the big blow for the Rangers when they had seven consecutive batters reach with two outs in the fourth off Dallas Keuchel (6-10). That put the Rangers up 4-3, and Martin scored on a single by Kinsler.

Alex Rios added an RBI single before Adrian Beltre's hard liner ended the inning.

Kinsler's 13th home run, a solo shot in the sixth, chased Keuchel.

Before sweeping Houston, the Rangers hadn't won consecutive games since a three-game sweep at Seattle from Aug. 26-28. They had an AL-best record of 20-7 in August and a two-game lead in the AL West before starting this month 5-15 while Oakland claimed the division title for the second year in a row.

"Just keep winning. That's our mindset right now. We're competing right now," shortstop Elvis Andrus said. "We now at the same time we're winning, we have to hope for the other guys to lose. ... That's our reality right now."

The Astros tied the 2001-03 Detroit Tigers for the fifth-most losses over a three-year span at 321, according to STATS. They trail only the 1962-64 New York Mets (340), the 1963-65 Mets (332), the 1915-17 Philadelphia Athletics (324) and the 1940-42 Phillies (323).

After a day off Thursday, the Astros complete their season with three games at home this weekend against the New York Yankees.

The Rangers' 17 victories are the most Texas has ever had against a team in the same season, and Cleveland won its 17th against the White Sox on Wednesday night. The last team with 17 victories against another opponent before that was Oakland against Seattle in 2006.

Houston finished with a 27-54 record on the road, still its most wins away from home since 2010.

Ten of the first 11 outs by Texas came on groundballs against Keuchel, one of the majors' best with a 2½-to-1 ratio of groundballs to flyballs.

In the Rangers third, Craig Gentry reached on a throwing error by shortstop Jonathan Villar. After a stolen base and a wild pitch, Gentry scored when Andrus hit what could have been an inning-ending double play grounder. But the ball slipped out of second baseman Jose Altuve's hand when he tried to make the relay throw to first.

Altuve, whose 39 hits in September are most in the majors, opened the Astros fourth with a double off the left-field wall and scored on a single by Chris Carter. Brandon Laird's two-run home run made it 3-1.

Keuchel got the first two outs of the fourth on grounders before the Rangers loaded the bases on Jeff Baker's single, a walk and a hit batsman. Martin cleared the bases with a double to right.

"It's disappointing from my aspect," Keuchel said. "Especially when we just put a three-spot up on the board."

Notes

Houston had 12 strikeouts in the game, increasing its franchise-record season total to 1,504. That is 25 shy of the major-league record set by Arizona in 2010. ... The Astros also had a 12-game losing streak last year. ... Villar has 15 errors in 54 games. ... Houston was 1-8 this season at Rangers Ballpark, the only victory a game Keuchel started July 6.

 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Ian Kinsler heads for home after hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning that pushes the Rangers' lead to 7-3.  (USATSI)
Ian Kinsler heads for home after hitting a solo home run in the sixth inning that pushes the Rangers' lead to 7-3. (USATSI)

Players of the Game
Texas

L. Martin
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 0
RBI 3
Houston

B. Laird
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1
RBI 2
 

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Houston Astros
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Jonathan Villar, SS4000112 .249
Jose Altuve, 2B4120000 .285
Matt Dominguez, 3B4010003 .245
Chris Carter, 1B4121011 .226
J.D. Martinez, LF3000022 .251
   a-Trevor Crowe, PH-LF0000100 .231
Brandon Laird, DH4112013 .188
L.J. Hoes, RF4010021 .277
Cody Clark, C3010010 .105
   b-Jimmy Paredes, PH1000011 .197
Brandon Barnes, CF3000021 .241
   c-Marc Krauss, PH1000011 .217
Dallas Keuchel, P0000000 .000
   Rhiner Cruz, P0000000 .000
   Jorge De Leon, P0000000 .000
Totals35383212  
a-walked for Martinez in the 8th
b-struck out for Clark in the 9th
c-struck out for Barnes in the 9th
Batting
2B - Jose Altuve (31, Perez)
HR - Brandon Laird (5, Perez)
RBI - Chris Carter (81), Brandon Laird 2 (11)
2-OUT RBI - Brandon Laird 2 (9)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
E - Cody Clark (1, Interference), Jonathan Villar (15, Throwing)
Houston Astros
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Dallas Keuchel (L,6-10) 5.2676351 5.15
Rhiner Cruz 1.1100110 3.54
Jorge De Leon 1000000 5.59
WP - Dallas Keuchel (7), Rhiner Cruz (1)
HBP - Gentry (by Dallas Keuchel)
Pitches-Strikes - Dallas Keuchel 97-56, Rhiner Cruz 35-23, Jorge De Leon 7-5
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Dallas Keuchel 11-2, Rhiner Cruz 1-2, Jorge De Leon 1-2
Batters Faced - Dallas Keuchel 28, Rhiner Cruz 7, Jorge De Leon 3
Texas Rangers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Ian Kinsler, 2B4222100 .276
Elvis Andrus, SS5011000 .271
Alex Rios, RF4011001 .279
Adrian Beltre, 3B4010002 .317
A.J. Pierzynski, C4000011 .271
Jeff Baker, DH2110110 .283
   a-David Murphy, PH-DH0000000 .220
Mitch Moreland, 1B2100211 .233
Craig Gentry, LF3200013 .263
Leonys Martin, CF4113021 .260
Martin Perez, P0000000 .000
   Jason Frasor, P0000000 .000
   Joakim Soria, P0000000 .000
Totals3277746  
a-awarded first on catcher's interference for Baker in the 7th
Batting
2B - Adrian Beltre (31, Cruz), Leonys Martin (20, Keuchel)
HR - Ian Kinsler (13, Keuchel)
RBI - Ian Kinsler 2 (70), Elvis Andrus (67), Alex Rios (77), Leonys Martin 3 (47)
2-OUT RBI - Ian Kinsler 2 (29), Alex Rios (31), Leonys Martin 3 (22)
SB - Elvis Andrus (41, 2nd base off Keuchel/Clark), Craig Gentry (20, 2nd base off Keuchel/Clark)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
E - Martin Perez (1, Throwing)
Texas Rangers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Martin Perez (W,10-5) 7633181 3.55
Jason Frasor 1100110 2.64
Joakim Soria 1100030 4.09
WP - Martin Perez (9), Joakim Soria (2)
Pitches-Strikes - Martin Perez 100-64, Jason Frasor 24-13, Joakim Soria 16-11
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Martin Perez 10-3, Jason Frasor 2-0
Batters Faced - Martin Perez 28, Jason Frasor 5, Joakim Soria 4
Game Information
Attendance - 43207
Game Time - 2:42
Temperature - 89
Umpires - Home - Chris Conroy, First Base - Gary Darling, Second Base - Jerry Meals, Third Base - Paul Emmel