Leody Taveras delivered a bases-clearing double in the top of the 10th inning, the decisive blow in a five-run frame that keyed the Texas Rangers’ 8-4 win over the Houston Astros Wednesday.
Taveras finished 2-for-4 with a career-high five RBIs. His 12th double of the season came off Astros reliever Bryan Abreu with two outs, but Texas initiated its uprising against Phil Maton (0-2), who was charged with five runs (four earned) on three hits and a walk while retiring just one of the five batters he faced.
Marcus Semien and Corey Seager (3-for-5, run) produced RBIs prior to Taveras’ critical extra-base hit.
Houston pulled even at 2-2 against Texas rookie right-hander Glenn Otto when Kyle Tucker slugged his 20th home run leading off the fourth. The blast marked the first homer for Tucker since July 26.
Three innings later, Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez emerged from his slump.
Otto allowed two runs on four hits and four walks with five strikeouts over five innings. Left-hander Brock Burke provided effective relief until Alvarez bashed his 31st home run with one out in the seventh, a line drive to right that knotted the score at 3-3. Alvarez had gone 10 games without a homer, batting .139 with nine strikeouts and one extra-base hit in that span.
Astros right-hander Justin Verlander won his previous seven starts, recording a 0.76 ERA while allowing one or fewer earned runs in each. In the fourth, Texas broke through for a pair of runs.
After Nathaniel Lowe opened the frame with a sharp single to left, Taveras drilled a 2-2 slider to straightaway center field, driving home Lowe with an RBI triple that pulled Texas even at 1-1. Verlander surrendered the lead immediately thereafter when Meibrys Viloria followed with a sacrifice fly to left that scored Taveras.
Verlander then retired six consecutive batters before running into trouble again in the sixth, this time when Adolis Garcia stroked a leadoff single.
Garcia was initially ruled out on his attempted steal of second base. But Texas manager Chris Woodward challenged the call and it was reversed, setting the table for Garcia to score on Taveras’ sacrifice fly to center two batters later.
The Rangers seized a 3-2 lead against Verlander, marking the first time in seven weeks that he allowed more than two runs in a start.
Verlander allowed three runs on five hits and one walk with seven strikeouts over six innings.
Garcia finished 3-for-4 with a walk and scored twice.