Chirinos hits 2-run homer as Rangers beat Astros 11-2
HOUSTON (AP) The Texas Rangers capped a difficult day with a big win over their in-state rival on Friday night.
Robinson Chirinos hit a two-run homer and Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Jurickson Profar added solo shots as the Rangers romped to a lopsided 11-2 win over the Houston Astros on a day Texas dealt veteran left-hander Cole Hamels to the Cubs in what could be just the first of several moves to come.
The victory snapped a franchise-long eight-game losing streak to the Astros and ended a four-game skid overall.
”Our core group of guys, they continue to play, those offensive guys continue to battle every night … they understand it was a challenging day losing one of their leaders, just a great pitcher for us and a great human being and teammate,” manager Jeff Banister said. ”However, they understand the business of the game of baseball and I was proud they went out and had great energy and played.”
The Rangers led by a run in the fifth inning with two out and one on when Chirinos sent a fastball from Dallas Keuchel (8-9) onto the train tracks atop left field to make it 3-0. It was the first homer Keuchel had allowed since giving up three to the Mariners on June 5.
Shin-Soo Cho hit an RBI triple in the sixth and the Rangers made it 5-0 when he scored on a sacrifice fly by Profar.
Evan Gattis hit his 20th homer in the seventh inning for Houston’s first run on a night the team played without reigning American League MVP Jose Altuve, who sat out after leaving Wednesday’s game with a sore right knee. The Astros managed just six hits and were 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position.
”That was not a great night for us on both sides,” manager A.J. Hinch said. ”On the offensive side, as the game went on, I thought we had little bit better at bats and broke through a little bit. Clearly not enough.”
Kiner-Falefa’s shot to the seats in left field came in the eighth inning to make it 6-1.
Texas starter Yovani Gallardo (5-1) allowed two hits while walking four in 5 1-3 scoreless innings for his second straight win.
”I think we caught them on a night when their offense was a little stalemated I think due to what Yovani was able to do,” Banister said. ”I thought just a masterful job by Yo.”
Keuchel gave up six hits and three runs in five innings to end a season-long five-game winning streak. The left-hander had bounced back from a tough start to the season and had pitched well lately, allowing just four runs combined in his previous four starts.
Profar’s homer came on the first pitch of a ninth inning where the Rangers tacked on five more runs to extend the lead to 11-1.
Chirinos doubled to start the second inning before a one-out single by Isiah Kiner-Falefa sent him to third. The Rangers took a 1-0 lead when Chirinos slid in just before Max Stassi could apply the tag on a sacrifice bunt by Carlos Tocci.
Rangers: OF Ryan Rua was scratched about 25 minutes before the game because of back spasms.
Astros: Hinch said Altuve is day-to-day and wasn’t sure if he’d return to the lineup on Saturday. ”He’s still pretty sore and we’re going to hold him out as a precautionary measure,” Hinch said. ”I don’t know what that means for this series or anything more than today.” … SS Carlos Correa, who hasn’t played since June 25 because of back soreness, said he’s feeling better and the team hopes he’s getting close beginning a rehabilitation assignment.
The Astros added bullpen help Friday night when they traded for Minnesota right-hander Ryan Pressly. Houston sent two prospects – right-hander Jorge Alcala and outfielder Gilberto Celestino – to the Twins. The 29-year-old Pressley is 1-1 with a 3.40 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 51 appearances this season. He adds depth in the bullpen to a team that sent closer Ken Giles to the minors earlier this month after he struggled most of the season. Pressly has spent his entire six-year career with the Twins, where he’s 17-16 with a 3.75 ERA in 281 games.
Houston optioned LHP Cionel Perez to Triple-A Fresno to make a spot for Pressly on the roster.
Texas right-hander Ariel Jurado (0-1, 7.71 ERA) will start on Saturday in place of Hamels on Friday. Justin Verlander (10-5, 2.19) will start for Houston after striking out 11 in six scoreless innings in a 7-0 win over the Angels in his last start.
More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball