Gattis’ sac fly in 10th lifts Astros over Rangers 5-4
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Jose Altuve was more than due when he came to bat in the 10th inning, and got a winning rally started for the Houston Astros.
“He hadn’t gotten a hit in four at-bats,” manager A.J. Hinch said of the second basemen who led the American League in hits each of the past four seasons and is the MLB leader so far this year.
Altuve was actually in an 0-for-13 slide before his fifth at-bat Wednesday night against the Texas Rangers. His 115th hit of the season was a one-out single off Chris Martin, who then hit Yuli Gurriel with a pitch before an errant pickoff throw allowed both runners to move up. That set up Evan Gattis’ tiebreaking sacrifice fly in a 5-4 victory.
Gurriel homered, doubled and scored twice as the Astros overcame an early four-run deficit. His fifth homer, leading off the fifth against starter Mike Minor, tied the game at 4.
Josh Reddick also went deep for the Astros, who their eighth consecutive road game against Texas and are a majors-best 32-14 on the road this season. The Astros have a 12-4 advantage in the season series between the instate division rivals that has only a three-game set remaining in Houston later this month.
Shin-Soo Choo homered and had a single to extend his on-base streak to 44 games, the longest in his career and in the majors this season. That matches Otis Nixon’s streak in 1995 for the Rangers, and trails only Julio Franco’s 46-gamer in 1993 for the team record.
Texas led 4-0 after Choo’s one-out solo homer started a three-run outburst in the third off starter Gerrit Cole.
Collin McHugh (4-0), who won 48 games as a starter for the Astros the past four seasons, allowed only one hit over three scoreless innings. Ken Giles worked the 10th for his 12th save in 12 chances.
“You’re talking about a 19-game winner in the big leagues. Those don’t grow on trees,” said Astros reliever Will Harris, who worked out of a jam in the sixth before McHugh took over. “He goes out there and he knows who he is. He mixes it up, he’s a strike thrower and he’s a fearless guy out there.”
The start of the game was delayed for a few minutes after Minor had issues with the mound during warmups. The ground crew came out to work on the slippery dirt. Cole also was unhappy with the mound. Martin (1-2) slipped and fell down when throwing the pitch that hit Gurriel. The Rangers said afterward that Martin was being evaluated for a left groin issue.
“The mound early seemed to be slick,” Rangers manager Jeff Banister said.
DEEP ON THE ROAD
The Astros have homered in 24 consecutive road games, three short of the MLB record set by the Oakland Athletics earlier this season. Baltimore also went deep in 24 consecutive road games in 1996.
RACKING UP K’s
Cole, who threw 108 pitches to get through five innings, struck out seven to increase his season total to 158. The only Astros pitcher with more strikeouts before the All-Star break is Mike Scott, with 167 in 22 starts in 1986. Cole has made 18 starts, with two more scheduled before the break. ... In four starts against Texas this season, Cole has 40 strikeouts in 25 innings.
FAR FROM PERFECT
Minor retired the first 19 San Diego batters he faced in his previous start a week earlier. The lefty allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits over six innings against Houston with four strikeouts and three walks.
“Probably not as sharp as he’s been,” Banister said. “Looked like they were sitting on slider.”
Astros: Hinch said C Max Stassi was feeling better than expected after getting hit by a pitch on his right (throwing) wrist in the first inning Tuesday, on the same day starting catcher Brian McCann had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.
Rangers: 3B Adrian Beltre, baseball’s active career hits leader (3,108), was scratched from the lineup about an hour before the game because of an infected tooth. He had a root canal and then traveled with the team to Detroit. ... RHP Tony Barnette went on the 10-day disabled list. An MRI revealed a strained lat that will keep him from throwing for at least four weeks. He left Tuesday night’s game in the middle of a batter.
Astros: Justin Verlander (9-4), who has lost his last two starts, is on the mound when the Astros return home for the opener Thursday night of a four-game series against the Chicago White Sox.
Rangers: The Rangers open a 10-game, 11-day trip that will take them to the All-Star break when they play Thursday night at Detroit. Texas also plays at Boston and Baltimore before their next home game July 20.
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