Astros’ losing streak at five games after loss to Rangers

Sports Xchange

August 13, 2017 at 12:38 am.

ARLINGTON, Texas — The Texas Rangers rode a few big swings from Brett Nicholas and Mike Napoli and a strong game from Adrian Beltre to their third straight win on Saturday night, beating the Astros 8-3 at Globe Life Park.

Nicholas’ three-run homer in the second inning, his first home run of the year, spotted Texas (56-59) an early lead for the second day in a row.

The Astros (71-45) clawed back to get within one, but they couldn’t keep the Rangers from extending their lead and Houston dropped its fifth game in a row — extending a season-high losing streak — and the 12th of its last 14.

Beltre had three hits — including a double — and three RBIs to pad the Rangers’ lead late.

Texas chased Astros starter Mike Fiers (7-7, 4.36 ERA) from the game after four innings, his shortest outing since also going four innings against the New York Yankees on July 2. In three August starts, Fiers has given up six homers after allowing just four in the combined months of June and July.

Houston was forced to dig into its bullpen as a result, using five pitchers.

Tyson Ross (3-2, 7.11) gave up three runs and four hits in 5 2/3 innings in his first start back after being activated from the disabled list earlier Saturday. He was removed with two outs in the sixth after walking in a run to make it 6-3, but Matt Bush got Juan Centeno to fly out with the bases loaded, slamming the door on the last meaningful Houston threat. He worked 2 1/3 scoreless innings, and Jason Grilli closed it out in the ninth to seal the win.

The teams combined to hit five batters, including Carlos Gomez twice. Gomez has been hit by a pitch eight times in his last 15 games.

Houston got production from Alex Bregman — who extended his career-long hitting streak to 14 games — and J.D. Davis, but the offense failed to capitalize on Ross’ return from injury.

After Joey Gallo walked and Gomez was hit by a pitch, Nicholas crushed his first homer of the year — a three-run shot — with two outs in the second, putting the Rangers on the board first for the second game in a row.

The Astros got two back in the fourth. Bregman singled in Jose Altuve and later scored on Davis’ double, but Rougned Odor’s relay throw from Nomar Mazara in the right-field corner cut Derek Fisher down at the plate to end the inning.

Napoli’s homer in the fourth inning, his 23rd of the year, stretched the Rangers’ lead back to two runs.

Texas rallied again in the fifth. Mazara’s RBI groundout and Beltre’s RBI double in that inning made it 6-2.

NOTES: The game was delayed half an hour for a special pregame ceremony, where the Rangers retired newly inducted Hall of Fame member Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez’s No. 7 jersey. … Rangers RHP Tyson Ross was activated and OF Ryan Rua was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock. … The Rangers also claimed INF Phil Gosselin off of waivers from Pittsburgh and outrighted INF Tyler Smith to Round Rock. … The Astros promoted RHP Forrest Whitley, their first-round pick last year, to Double-A Corpus Christi. … A 21-minute rain delay paused the game in the bottom of the first inning. … Rangers OF Shin-Soo Choo reached base four times for the eighth time this year, tied for the eighth-most instances in MLB.