Rangers 8, Astros 3
Justin Grimm kept telling himself to go out and just make
pitches in his major league debut for the Texas Rangers.
Even though he had never pitched above the Double-A level, the
right-hander kept the mindset that it was just a game with a better
defense and offense on his side. Particularly with those Rangers
Nelson Cruz hit a towering three-run homer the pitch after
Adrian Beltre’s two-run single and the Rangers went on to an 8-3
victory over the Houston Astros on Saturday night.
”I’m more than certain he was dealing with a lot of butterflies
that first inning, but he settled down,” manager Ron Washington
said. ”He didn’t lose his poise, executed his pitches. That’s
really the gist of what he did.”
After giving up a two-out solo homer to Jed Lowrie in the first,
Grimm struck out five consecutive batters.
Though the 23-year-old Grimm had joined the Rangers two days
earlier, his contract was purchased from Double-A Frisco before the
game. It didn’t take long for him to settle in on the mound.
”Probably after that first inning. That was the hardest inning
I’ve thrown in my whole career,” Grimm said. ”The first couple of
pitches, I couldn’t tell you where they were going in the zone. …
I just told myself to go out there and make the same pitches.”
Rookie Lucas Harrell (6-5) held Texas scoreless until those
consecutive one-out pitches in the sixth, right after a botched
rundown loaded the bases instead of getting out the lead
Grimm allowed six hits and three runs over six innings. The
fifth-round draft pick from two years ago struck out seven without
”He threw well. He was aggressive and he was around the zone,
especially for a kid making his debut,” Astros first baseman Brett
Wallace said. ”Usually they have some nerves. But he got out of
Still, when Grimm threw the last of his 88 pitches, he walked
off the mound trailing 3-0.
Craig Gentry and Ian Kinsler had consecutive singles to start
the bottom of the sixth. They advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Elvis
Andrus before a big defensive miscue.
Harrell snagged Michael Young’s comebacker and had Gentry caught
up between third base and home. After the throw to Chris Johnson
pursing the runner, the third baseman’s toss to catcher Chris
Snyder was dropped and allowed Gentry to safely scamper back to
”I thought Luke did a good job getting the ball back. Chris
Johnson gave the ball up because the guy was more than halfway
home,” manager Brad Mills said. ”When you’re having a tough time
getting some runs, there’s not much margin for error.”
Beltre followed by grounding a single through the left side of
the infield to cut the deficit to 3-2. Cruz then hit his ninth
homer, a 431-foot shot that landed deep in the Astros bullpen in
”It was an awesome experience,” Grimm said. ”I threw my hands
in the air and screamed.”
Grimm was pitching in place of Alexi Ogando, who will be out
four to six weeks after he strained his right groin running out a
bunt single in San Francisco last Sunday. Ogando had thrown three
perfect innings in his first start of the season while filling in
for Derek Holland, who was already on the disabled list with
With an off day Thursday, the Rangers haven’t said what they
will do when that spot in the rotation comes up again at the end of
next week. They could skip the spot, have Grimm make another start
or three-time All-Star Roy Oswalt – scheduled to make his fourth
minor league start Sunday since signing with Texas last month –
could be ready to join the Rangers by then.
”We haven’t had a chance to make that decision yet,”
Washington said. ”(Grimm) did what he had to do, kept us in the
ball game. … Because he performed, he’s in consideration.”
Harrell allowed five runs and seven hits over 5 1-3 innings. He
had won his previous two starts, games the Astros won 9-8 and
Texas clinched the Silver Boot Trophy for the sixth year in a
row, having won four of five games this season before the series
finale between the Lone Star State rivals Sunday afternoon. They
will be division rivals next year when the Astros switch from the
National League Central to the American League West.
Houston led 3-0 in the fifth after Brian Bogusevic had a leadoff
double and scored on Justin Maxwell’s double before Jordan
Schafer’s RBI single. Lowrie’s 13 homers are the most among major
Before their outburst in the sixth, the second night in the row
the Rangers had a five-run inning against Houston, only one runner
had even reached second base against Harrell.
NOTES: LHP Dallas Keuchel will make his major league debut
Sunday for the Astros. They will have to make a roster move before
Sunday’s game to add Keuchel, who starts in place of RHP Bud Norris
(sprained left knee). … The Astros said after the game that 1B
Carlos Lee (strained left hamstring) will be reinstated from the DL
on Sunday. Wallace will be sent down to Triple-A Oklahoma City. …
Young matched the Rangers’ career record with his 66th sacrifice
fly in the seventh.