Astros continue home dominance against Rangers with 5-1 win

HOUSTON (AP) — Martín Maldonado hit a three-run double and Jose Altuve added a season-high four hits to back a strong start by Framber Valdez as the Houston Astros continued their home dominance of the Texas Rangers with a 5-1 win Thursday night.

The victory extended Houston’s winning streak at home against the Rangers to 11. Texas went 0-9 at Minute Maid Park last season and hasn’t won in Houston since Sept. 16, 2020.

The Astros, who lost two of the last three on the road, won their ninth straight overall at home.

Valdez (3-2) allowed six hits and a run while tying a season high with seven strikeouts in seven innings for his second straight win. The left-hander got off to a shaky start with a leadoff walk and a balk in the first that helped the Rangers take a 1-0 lead. He settled after that to hold them scoreless over the next six innings and lower his ERA to 2.68.

Altuve, who hit two doubles, scored in the first to tie it before an RBI single by Kyle Tucker put Houston on top 2-1.

Josh Sborz walked three straight batters to load the bases with one out in the eighth and was replaced by Matt Moore. Moore struck out José Siri before Maldonado smacked a double to clear the bases and make it 5-1.

Glenn Otto (1-2) pitched well after giving up the two runs early, but the Rangers couldn’t provide any run support after the first to keep the rookie winless since April 22. He yielded seven hits and two runs in a career-high six innings.

Eli White drew a leadoff walk before advancing to second on a groundout by Marcus Semien. A balk by Valdez sent White to third and the Rangers took the lead when White scored on a single by Corey Seager.

Altuve opened Houston’s first with a double and moved to third on a wild pitch. Otto plunked Alex Bregman before Altuve scored on a one-out single by Aledmys Díaz to tie it. Bregman was thrown out at third on the play and Díaz moved to second.

Tucker put Houston up 2-1 when he lined a single to right field to score Díaz.

The Astros had a shot to add to the lead in the second inning with Siri was on second base with two outs. Altuve singled and Siri sprinted toward home, but Charlie Culberson’s throw beat him there to end the inning.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Rangers: C Mitch Garver was activated from the 10-day injured list before Thursday’s game. OF Nick Solak was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock to make room for him on the roster.

UP NEXT

Houston’s Cristian Javier (2-1, 3.20 ERA) opposes Martín Pérez (2-2, 2.01) when the series continues Friday night.

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