Astros take rubber match, pull within 2.5 games of Rangers


After two games of crazy offensive production, runs were a little harder to come by in the final game of this series between the Rangers and Astros. Ultimately Dallas Keuchel made the difference, allowing just one run in seven innings after being shelled by the Rangers the last time he faced them. Martin Perez threw a solid six innings, allowing just two runs, neither earned, in a 4-2 loss. Keuchel improved to 19-8 on the season while Perez dropped to 3-6.

For the third straight game, the Rangers got on the board in the top of the first. Prince Fielder brought Shin-Soo Choo in to score on an RBI groundout to go up 1-0. In the bottom of the second, Evan Gattis grounded out, Colby Rasmus struck out but Marwin Gonzalez reached on an error by Elvis Andrus to keep the inning going. Chris Carter followed with a single, moving Gonzalez to third. Jason Castro walked to load the bases. Jake Marisnick followed with a two run double that brought in Carter and Gonzalez to put the Astros up 2-1.

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Neither team got on the board again until the seventh inning when Carter hit a solo shot to left field to put Houston up 3-1. Texas pulled back within a run in the top of the eighth as Rougned Odor scored on an RBI groundout by Delino DeShields. But in the bottom of the eighth Houston got that insurance run back as Carlos Gomez came in to score on a pass ball to put Houston up 4-2, and Luke Gregerson finished it off in the top of the ninth.

With this win, the Astros are now within 2.5 games of the Rangers with a week to go in the season. Houston though has to go on the road for their final six games, where they have struggled this season. They start with three at Seattle and end the regular season with three at Arizona as they try to nail down a playoff spot. The Angels, Twins and Indians are all in pursuit of that second wild card spot as well. Texas, on the other hand, has seven games left, all at home. Texas ends the year 45-36 on the road, second best mark in the majors (a half game behind the Pirates who are 45-35 on the road) after going 34-47 on the road a year ago.

The Rangers start a three game set against the Tigers tomorrow night and then they finish the year with four against the Angels, who will more than likely be fighting for their playoff lives in that series. Colby Lewis will take the hill for Texas against Detroit’€™s Bud Norris, with a 7:05 CT first pitch.