HOUSTON (AP) The Houston Astros will have an overabundance of outfielders when George Springer and Dexter Fowler come off the disabled list.
Robbie Grossman’s big Friday night could help his case for staying in the majors.
Grossman’s two-run homer put the Astros ahead in the eighth inning and they held on for 4-3 victory over the Texas Rangers on Friday night.
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”They know that we have two of our regular guys coming back and at some point decisions are going to be made,” Houston manager Bo Porter said when asked about Grossman’s future in the crowded outfield. ”These guys will continue to battle and continue to play well to put themselves in position to stay here on the active major league roster.”
Chris Carter hit his 25th home run for Houston, which trailed 2-1 entering the eighth inning. Carter is the first Astro to hit at least 25 homers in consecutive seasons since Hunter Pence in 2009-10.
Jon Singleton singled with no outs and Grossman, who finished with three hits, launched a 92 mph fastball from Neal Cotts (2-6) into the Crawford Boxes in left field with one out to put the Astros on top.
”He just didn’t make some pitches that he should’ve made,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. ”He just missed with his pitches.”
Gregorio Petit’s double with two outs added an insurance run.
Jose Veras (2-1) threw a perfect eighth for the win. Chad Qualls allowed a run in the ninth and there were runners at first and second with one out when Daniel Robertson grounded into a double play to end the game and give Qualls his 13th save.
The win extends Houston’s streak over the Rangers to six games, the longest in franchise history. The Astros are 7-3 against Texas this season and remain ahead of the last-place Rangers in the AL West.
J.P. Arencibia hit a two-run homer in the first for Texas. Carter cut the deficit to one with his two-out shot in the fifth.
Carter, who homered twice Thursday night, has 12 home runs since July 4 and has upped his batting average from .181 to .225 since July 1.
Houston starter Brett Oberholtzer allowed six hits and two runs in seven innings.
Miles Mikolas yielded four hits and a run in five innings for the Rangers.
Houston second baseman Jose Altuve left the game with discomfort in his neck. Altuve didn’t appear to be injured when he batted in the fifth inning, but was replaced by Petit for the start of the sixth. He said after the game that he thinks he may have slept on it wrong and expects to be back in the lineup on Saturday.
Altuve leads the majors with 158 hits and his 45 steals are tops in the American League. He entered the night tied with Seattle’s Robinson Cano for the AL lead in hitting at .335, but went 0 for 3 Friday night to leave him at .333.
Texas catcher Geovany Soto (groin) was activated from the disabled list on Friday and started his first game since July 21. It was just his fourth game after missing the first part of the season following surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee in March. He went 0 for 3 with a strikeout.
Rangers: Outfielder Alex Rios did not play Friday and will also be out of the lineup Saturday after he re-aggravated a sprained right ankle on Wednesday. ”I could play on it, but I’d rather give it a little rest to make it feel better,” Rios said. Washington said Rios was available to pinch-hit and he will definitely be back in the lineup Sunday.
Astros: Fowler (back) and Springer (quadriceps) are inching closer to being activated from the disabled list. Fowler went 2 for 3 with an RBI in the start of a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Oklahoma City on Friday night and Springer was back in Houston after returning from a rehabilitation assignment at Single-A Quad Cities.
Yu Darvish will start for Texas against Scott Feldman on Saturday. Darvish is 3-0 with a 1.52 ERA in three career starts at Minute Maid Park. He came within one out of a perfect game in Houston on April 2, 2013. He has a 2.16 ERA in his last four starts to lower his ERA to 2.82.
Feldman, who spent his first eight seasons with Texas, threw the third complete game of his career in his last start, allowing eight hits and one run in a 6-1 win over Toronto.