HOUSTON (AP) — The Texas Rangers got a much-needed win in a close game and cooled off the hottest team in baseball.
Robinson Chirinos hit a tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the ninth inning, and the Rangers snapped Houston’s 10-game winning streak with a 2-1 win over the Astros on Monday night.
“Full of grit,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said about the win. “You kind of draw it up in the dirt as you go. It was a pitching victory with timely hitting.”
Chirinos’ sacrifice fly to center scored Adrian Beltre, who led off the inning with a double off Chad Qualls (0-2), moved to third on Kyle Blanks’ single and slid in as Jake Marisnick’s throw to the plate went to the backstop.
“The first thing I thought, it was not too deep,” Chirinos said. “I hit it with the barrel, and I got just deep enough to have Adrian score that run for us.”
Keone Kela (2-1) pitched the eighth and Neftali Feliz got the last three outs for his third save.
Texas had lost five of the last six and eight of the last 10 games entering Monday.
“It’s a huge win for the team,” Texas starter Ross Detwiler said. “Obviously, everybody knew about the 10-game winning streak, so it’s really nice to put an end to that and put a win together.”
Houston scored in the first as Jose Altuve and George Springer drew walks, worked a double steal and Altuve scored on Evan Gattis’ sacrifice fly to make it 1-0.
Jake Smolinski tied it in the eighth with a one-out RBI single to center.
Dallas Keuchel, who was named the AL pitcher of the month for April earlier in the day, allowed one run on five hits with a season-high eight strikeouts in eight innings.
Keuchel retired nine straight during one stretch, including striking out the side in the second and third innings, and 14 out of 15 batters between the first and fifth innings.
“He pitched well enough to win,” Houston manager A.J. Hinch said. “They got one at the end on him but he pitched very well. He was in total control of the game right up until the end. When your guy is on the mound, you want to reward him with the win. We just couldn’t get anything started. That type of outing is not uncommon for Dallas.”
Other than his struggles in the first inning, Detwiler matched Keuchel, allowing one run and four hits with seven strikeouts in seven innings. Detwiler had his second consecutive solid outing after allowing 18 runs over 12 1-3 innings in his first three starts.
Leonys Martin left the game in the fifth with a left wrist sprain, but X-rays were negative, and Martin was listed as day-to-day. Martin injured his wrist while diving for Altuve’s double in the third, but after the trainer and Banister came out to look at him, Martin stayed in. DeShields replaced Martin in center.
Rangers: OF Josh Hamilton (right shoulder) participated in an extended spring training game Monday in Arizona, going 0 for 4. Hamilton was acquired from the Los Angeles Angels on April 27. … 1B Mitch Moreland hit in the batting cages Monday. Moreland has been on the DL since April 29, retroactive to April 28, for left elbow surgery.
Rangers: LHP Wandy Rodriguez (0-1) will make his third start of the season for Texas in the second game of the three-game series. Rodriguez, who was in the Astros’ organization for the 14 years of his career, allowed four runs on five hits with five walks over 4 1-3 innings in his last start Wednesday against Seattle.
Astros: RHP Scott Feldman (2-2) will look to win his third straight decision and continue his string of three consecutive starts Tuesday against his former team. Feldman has allowed seven runs over 19 2-3 innings in his last three starts following a 0-2 start.
ALTUVE, KUECHEL WIN AWARDS
Keuchel was the first Astro to win the pitcher of the month award since Wandy Rodriguez was named the NL Pitcher of the Month in July 2009. Keuchel was 3-0 with a 0.73 ERA in five April starts.
Altuve was named the AL co-player of the week for April 27-May 3 after hitting .467 with seven runs, five doubles, one home run and eight RBIs during the week. Altuve shared the award with Oakland’s Josh Reddick.