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Balk gives Astros 8-7 win, first 4-game sweep of Rangers

By SCHUYLER DIXON

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) _ George Springer scored the tiebreaking run in the ninth inning on a balk after homering on the first pitch of the game, and the Houston Astros swept their Texas rivals in a four-game series for the first time, beating the Rangers 8-7 despite blowing a six-run lead Sunday.

Texas closer Keone Kela had already thrown a pitch to Evan Gattis with two outs when Astros manager A.J. Hinch came out of the dugout apparently to question whether Kela had balked. After a brief conversation among the four umpires, Springer was awarded home.

Replay showed Kela (3-3) not pausing in his delivery, and Rangers manager JeffBanister was ejected while arguing the decision.

The World Series champion Astros won their fifth straight and moved a season-high 17 games over .500 (42-25) despite Dallas Keuchel failing to hold a 6-0 lead.

The 2015 AL Cy Young Award winner couldn’t get through five innings, matching a career worst by allowing 13 hits while throwing 106 pitches in just 4 1/3 innings.

Yuli Gurriel’s fourth hit was a tiebreaking homer in the seventh, but the Rangers got even again when Nomar Mazara doubled and Adrian Beltre singled him home with two outs in the eighth against Will Harris (2-3).

Springer walked to lead off the ninth, went to second on a wild pitch and took third on a flyout by Gurriel after an intentional walk to Jose Altuve.

Hector Rondon struck out the side in the ninth for his third save of the season and second in as many games.

Texas dropped a season-high 14 games under .500 (27-41) despite a season-best 16 hits.

Springer’s major league-leading fifth leadoff homer of the season was his third against Texas. Last year’s World Series MVP leads the defending champions with 14 home runs.

Ronald Guzman’s RBI single for a 6-6 tie finished off Keuchel in the fifth, and the Astros stayed even when lefty Tony Sipp came on thanks to Gurriel’s leaping grab of a liner from Shin-Soo Choo that turned into an unassisted double play at first base.

Choo, who reached base in a majors-leading 26th straight game, and Carlos Perez had two-run singles for the Rangers.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHP Joe Smith went on the 10-day disabled list with right elbow soreness, and LHP Reymin Guduan was recalled from Triple-A Fresno. The move on Smith was retroactive to Thursday. … SS Carlos Correa was out of the lineup a fourth straight day since leaving a game Wednesday with soreness on his right side. He’s expected to be ready after Monday’s off day.

Rangers: RHP Doug Fister went on the DL with a right knee strain. He left his start Friday after throwing one pitch in the sixth inning. Manager Jeff Banister said he expects Fister’s absence to go beyond June 19, the next time the Rangers would need him to take his turn in the rotation. INF Hanser Alberto was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock.

UP NEXT

Astros: RHP Lance McCullers Jr. (7-3, 3.94 ERA) takes the opener of a three-game series at Oakland on Tuesday. McCullers has beaten the A’s twice this season, allowing seven hits and two runs in 12 innings.

Rangers: RHP Bartolo Colon (3-3, 4.16) goes in the opener of a two-game series at the LA Dodgers on Tuesday. The 45-year-old is tied with Hall of Famer Juan Marichal for the most wins by a Dominican-born pitcher at 243.

Short URL: http://wtaw.com/?p=125381

Posted by on Jun 11 2018. Filed under Sports.
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