Spoiling another sterling starting pitching performance by Charlie Morton, the Astros bullpen surrendered four runs after the eight inning, blowing a three run lead en route to a 6-5 loss in 10 innings.
The game was scoreless until the fourth, when the Astros had a rare, in 2018, offensive explosion. George Springer opened the inning with a single, followed by another by Alex Bregman. Jose Altuve walked, followed by a Carlos Correa two RBI double to left. Yuli Gurriel, in his second game back from his pre-season wrist injury, smashed his first home run of the season to deep left field, reminiscent of his game five WS 3 run moonshot.
His run would be the last one scored by the Astros for the rest of the game.
With Morton’s curve inducing numerous swings and misses all game, and with a staff whose league leading ERA of 2.72 leads the league, it looked like a five run lead would win the game. But before leaving the game in the sixth inning with a career high 12 K’s, the Rangers were able to chip away at the Astros’ lead.
In his second big-league game, Isiah Kiner-Felefa got the Rangers started with a solo home run, his career first. And in the 6th, the Astros’ old nemesis, Adrian Beltre added another run with a dinger to right field.
Morton, who has a 1.00 ERA thus far in 2018, surrendered the ball to Hector Rondon in the sixth, who retired the side with 2 K’s.
Manager A.H. Hinch handed the ball to trusted reliever Brad Peacock in the eighth, but with one out Jurickson Profar doubled, followed by a Joey Gallo home run, his second in two days. Two batters later Ronald Guzman, like Falefa, in his second big league game, got his first career home run taking a low slider to right field to tie the game 5-5.
Peacock has surrendered 3 home runs in his last two innings pitched, taking a walk-off loss in Minnesota on Wednesday, and a blown save in today’s.
Ken Giles pitched a perfect ninth inning, but in the 10th Will Harris got into trouble by walking Profar. With one out Gallo struck again, with a double followed by an intentional walk to Beltre. Guzman then bashed a hard liner right at Harris, who deflected the ball to Correa, but who had no play at any base. One run scored. Harris then retired the side.
In the bottom of the 10th the Astros lead off with 2 singles by Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve, but the following batters could not drive them in.
This loss is not all on the bullpen, as the Astros again managed only eight hits, and were only 2-9 with runners in scoring position
Their season record stands at 10-5, currently 2 games behind the first place Angels who are playing in KC at this time
The rubber match in this home series against the Rangers is tomorrow at 7:08 PM. It will be Jackie Robinson Day.