|5:05 PM PT6:05 PM MT7:05 PM CT8:05 PM ET20:05 ET0:05 GMT8:05 5:05 PM MST7:05 PM EST7:35 PM VEN4:05 UAE (+1)7:05 PM CT, August 12, 2017
Globe Life Park in Arlington, Arlington, Texas Attendance: 47,306
Astros' losing streak at five games after loss to Rangers
(TSX / STATS) -- ARLINGTON, Texas -- In early June, the Houston Astros were riding high. They strolled into Arlington and swept the Texas Rangers, who had owned them the year before.
Now, the Rangers are poised to flip that and sweep Houston. They rode a few big swings from Brett Nicholas and Mike Napoli and a strong game from Adrian Beltre to their third straight win on Saturday night, beating the Astros 8-3 at Globe Life Park.
"Obviously, when you're playing the team that is on top, and we have that energy," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "I've said it all along, these guys aren't going away. They have a lot to play for.
"You see their heart, their grit, their resilience that we talk about every day in this clubhouse, and you saw it show up in these two games. They know exactly what they want to do."
Nicholas' three-run homer in the second inning, his first home run of the year, spotted Texas (56-59) an early lead for the second day in a row.
The Astros (71-45) clawed back to get within one, but they couldn't keep the Rangers from extending their lead. Houston dropped its fifth game in a row -- extending a season-high losing streak -- and the 11th of its last 14.
"Times like this will always feel miserable, bleak, frustrating, but every team goes through them," Astros manager A.J. Hinch told MLB.com. "While you're going through them, they're hard to describe. It's the same thing over and over again; there's mistakes being made, there's frustration starting to come out. When you come out of it, you feel pretty good about it."
Beltre had three hits -- including a double -- and three RBIs to pad the Rangers' lead late.
Texas chased Astros starter Mike Fiers (7-7, 4.36 ERA) from the game after four innings, his shortest outing since also going four innings against the New York Yankees on July 2. In three August starts, Fiers has given up six homers after allowing just four in the combined months of June and July.
Houston was forced to dig into its bullpen as a result, using five pitchers.
"That's pretty much the key to failure and success for me, I think, is the walk and the home run again," Fiers told MLB.com. "A big three-run homer after a couple of walks and I hit (Carlos) Gomez. One home run turns into three runs. Just putting myself in bad spots every inning, and just making it a lot tougher on these guys to fight back and win ballgames. It starts with me and it didn't start well."
Tyson Ross (3-2, 7.11) gave up three runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings in his first start back after being activated from the disabled list earlier Saturday. He was removed with two outs in the sixth after walking in a run to make it 6-3.
But Matt Bush got Juan Centeno to fly out with the bases loaded, slamming the door on the last meaningful Houston threat. He worked 2 1/3 scoreless innings, and Jason Grilli closed it out in the ninth to seal the win.
The teams combined to hit five batters, including Carlos Gomez twice. Gomez has been hit by a pitch eight times in his last 15 games.
Houston got production from Alex Bregman -- who extended his career-long hitting streak to 14 games -- and J.D. Davis, but the offense failed to capitalize on Ross' return from injury.
After Joey Gallo walked and Gomez was hit by a pitch, Nicholas crushed his first homer of the year -- a three-run shot -- with two outs in the second, putting the Rangers on the board first for the second game in a row.
"Obviously, they can score runs in bunches, and it's nice to get a couple-run cushion right there," Nicholas said. "Once they start to put up a couple runs you can slow them down a bit, but it doesn't matter who it is. Any time you score a couple runs to start the game, it just gives you nice momentum going into the rest of the game."
The Astros got two back in the fourth. Bregman singled in Jose Altuve and later scored on Davis' double, but Rougned Odor's relay throw from Nomar Mazara in the right-field corner cut Derek Fisher down at the plate to end the inning.
Napoli's homer in the fourth inning, his 23rd of the year, stretched the Rangers' lead back to two runs.
Texas rallied again in the fifth. Mazara's RBI groundout and Beltre's RBI double in that inning made it 6-2.
NOTES: The game was delayed half an hour for a special pregame ceremony, where the Rangers retired newly inducted Hall of Fame member Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez's No. 7 jersey. ... Rangers RHP Tyson Ross was activated and OF Ryan Rua was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock. ... The Rangers also claimed INF Phil Gosselin off of waivers from Pittsburgh and outrighted INF Tyler Smith to Round Rock. ... The Astros promoted RHP Forrest Whitley, their first-round pick last year, to Double-A Corpus Christi. ... A 21-minute rain delay paused the game in the bottom of the first inning. ... Rangers OF Shin-Soo Choo reached base four times for the eighth time this year, tied for the eighth-most instances in the majors.
Updated August 13, 2017