ARLINGTON, Texas – George Springer set a positive tone right away for the Houston Astros against Yu Darvish.
And they held on to avoid a late-season sweep, beating AL-best Texas 7-6 on Sunday and ending the Rangers' seven-game winning streak.
Springer led off the game with his 26th homer and scored his 100th run, and the Astros jumped out to a 5-0 lead against Darvish, whose shortest outing of the season lasted only four innings.
"That was a big win for us on a lot of levels. No. 1, to jump out ahead on Darvish," manager A.J. Hinch said. "It's a good feeling getting on the plane, obviously, to salvage a game."
The Astros, who have 24 games left, are still 9 1/2 games behind Texas in the AL West, and have won only three of 16 games against their division rival this season. And they have only three more head-to-head meetings remaining.
Evan Gattis also homered for the Astros, though he struck out in each of his other four at-bats. His 24th homer was a solo shot in the fifth for a 6-2 lead right.
Darvish (5-4), in his shortest outing this season, allowed five runs in four innings. He struck out four, walked three and had two wild pitches.
"Got him out of the game and got into their bullpen and fortunate enough to come out of here with a win," said rookie Alex Bregman, who had three hits. "That's what you have to do against good teams like this, get ahead of them early and continue to apply pressure."
Chris Devenski (3-4) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings after taking over for starter Collin McHugh with one out in bottom of the fifth when the Rangers still had a runner on base and had already scored three runs in the inning to get within 6-5.
"I hung some. I made some good pitches, and I made some bad pitches. All the bad pitches got hit," McHugh said. "Anything you can win a game on the road in the division, it's a commodity. You take `em where you can get `em. It's not the prettiest of wins, especially here."
CLOSING IT OUT
Ken Giles pitched the ninth for his eighth save in 11 chances. The final out coming when the right-hander struck out hot-hitting Rougned Odor, who had three hits and three RBIs earlier in the game. Ian Desmond had a leadoff triple in the ninth and scored on Adrian Beltre's groundout.
BRUISED AND BLEEDING
Rangers LF Carlos Gomez had blood streaming down his face after getting cut by his own helmet when sliding headfirst into second base on a stolen base in the sixth inning. The helmet popped off, bounced off the ground and into his face. A trainer came out and looked at Gomez, who then disappeared briefly into the dugout before returning with two bandages -- one on the bridge of his nose, and another over the top corner of his left eye. A few pitches later, he was picked off second base.
Astros: Jose Altuve was the DH a day after suffering a cramp in his calf coming out of the batter's box when he grounded into a game-ending double play. ... Hinch said INF Marwin Gonzalez was available as a defensive replacement or pinch-hitter, he hasn't played since leaving midway through Wednesday game because of a right hamstring injury. ... LHP Dallas Keuchel played catch for the first time since his scheduled start Friday was pushed back due to arm fatigue. Hinch said the Astros aren't sure if he'll pitch Tuesday.
Rangers: C Jonathan Lucroy was back in the lineup and not feeling any lingering issues from flu-like symptoms that kept him to miss Saturday's game. ... RHP Keone Kela said he was OK after a liner deflected off the palm of his right hand in Saturday's game.
Astros: Continue their stretch of 13 consecutive games against division leaders. They open a four-game series Monday at AL Central leader Cleveland before going home to play the NL Central-leading Chicago Cubs and the Rangers.
Rangers: Open a 10-game road trip when they will face three AL West rivals. That starts Monday in Seattle, and ends the following week with three games in Houston.