Astros Sweep Rangers

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The Houston Astros returned home on Tuesday night to kick off a six-game homestand starting with a Lone Star Series showdown with the Texas Rangers. This is the third time these two teams have met over the last month. Houston currently leads the season series against the Rangers, 4-3.

Astros Sweep Rangers

Game One – Late Inning Heroics

The Astros did something a little different in game one against the Rangers. Houston planned to use a piggyback system with both Lance McCullers Jr. and Jake Odorizzi. Fresh off his rehab assignment down in Sugar Land, Lance McCullers Jr. returned to the mound on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park. McCullers Jr. looked in his return as he managed to go 4.1 innings, giving up one earned run, three walks, and had three strikeouts in his return.

Jake Odorizzi entered the game in the top of the sixth and was able to keep the Texas bats quiet during his outing. Odorizzi looked comfortable coming out of the bullpen as he managed to go 4.0 scoreless innings, with no walks and three strikeouts. Combined with McCullers Jr. and Odorizzi, the duo managed to throw a combined 8.1 innings, giving up five hits, two runs, and six strikeouts.

Houston struggled for most of the game, offensively. Texas sent Kyle Gibson to the mound, and he has been pretty dominant each time he has faced the Astros. The Rangers and Gibson had kept the Astros scoreless until the bottom of the sixth when Yuli Gurriel hit an RBI sacrifice fly which finally got Houston on the board.

They were down to their final strike in the bottom of the ninth when Carlos Correa hit the game-tying home run to send the game into extra innings. In the top of the tenth inning, the Rangers managed to get a run back, with Nate Lowe reaching on an infield single allowing Brock Holt to score.

In the bottom of the tenth, the Astros managed to get the bases load on three consecutive walks with no outs and Jose Altuve coming to bat. Altuve sends one into the Crawford Boxes for a walk-off grand slam on the second pitch of the at-bat, and Houston won excitingly, 6-3. The last time the Astros hit a walk-off grand slam at home to win the game was back on August 16, 2011, when Brian Bogusevic came in to pinch-hit against the Chicago Cubs.

Game Two – Crush City

The Astros sent Zack Greinke to the mound to face Texas in this quick two-game series on Wednesday night. Greinke made quick work of their cross-state rival in the first two innings. Then, however, Greinke got into a little jam in the top of the sixth inning after a couple of Rangers were able to get on base. After struggling in his last outing, going only three innings against Boston, Greinke was able to turn it around, going 5.2 innings, giving up three earned runs on four hits, walking two, and striking out four.

The Astros bats picked up right where they left off a night ago, with Altuve leading off with a solo home run in his first at-bat of the game. History was made after the Altuve home run as he was the first player in MLB history to hit a walk-off grand slam and then lead off with a home run in the next game.

The Astros continued the slugfest in the bottom of the second inning when Chas McCormick (2-run home run) and Martin Maldonado each homered in the inning, putting Houston up 4-0. Texas managed to get a run in the top of the third when Eli White hit a solo home run to cut the Houston lead to 4-1.

Myles Straw got in on the action in the bottom of the fourth inning to hit his second career home run as the Astros were able to extend their lead 5-1. The Rangers managed to get a couple of more runs in the top of the sixth inning, which brought Texas within two runs, 5-3. McCormick was not done as he hit his second home run of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning, extending Houston’s lead.

The Rangers got on the board again in the top of the seventh as White hit his second home run of the game. Houston’s offense continued to score runs in the bottom of the seventh inning as Correa hit an RBI double to extend the lead to 7-4. The Astros managed to get another run in the bottom the eighth as Altuve hit his second home run of the game, extending the lead to 8-4, which would be the final score. Houston would go on to hit six home runs in Wednesday night’s game.

Astros Injury News

  • Alex Bregman – Day-to-day. Left in the bottom of the first inning with a pulled quad injury. Bregman was injured running down the first baseline.
  • Kyle Tucker – Health and Safety protocols. Tucker was scratched from the lineup on Wednesday as he was feeling under the weather.

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Jeff "Rip" Griffin is a current MLB writer covering the Houston Astros. Rip is also the host of The Rip Griffin Show on Apple Podcasts. Rip holds a Bachelors of Science in Kinesiology, focusing in Sports Management from the University of Houston - Victoria.