HOUSTON – Martín Maldonado homered and drove in three runs to back seven solid innings from Zack Greinke, and the Houston Astros defeated the Texas Rangers 10-4 on Friday night for their fourth straight victory.
Kyle Tucker and Myles Straw each had two hits and two RBIs for the Astros.
“They’re coming on strong,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said. “That’s something that we had hoped for that the bottom of the lineup would come through, especially on certain days when the middle or the top isn’t doing their thing. … That’s big when you can depend on everybody and not just a few guys.”
Maldonado, who had two hits as well, launched a two-run homer to left field in the fifth to increase Houston’s lead to 10-2. He also drew a bases-loaded walk as part of a four-run third.
Maldonado said he’s been seeing the ball better, putting together good at-bats and getting good swings.
Tucker hit an RBI single in a three-run second and another in the third before scoring on a double play. Straw had an RBI single in the second and also walked to force home a run in the third.
Michael Brantley hit a sacrifice fly in the second, and Carlos Correa scored on a single by Straw and an error by center fielder Adolis García before Maldonado’s homer in the fifth.
Greinke (3-1) gave up three runs and seven hits with five strikeouts. He has allowed at least three runs in each of his last four starts.
“I think that’s why I was throwing balls lately is I expect guys to be aggressive and I was not throwing strikes from the beginning,” Greinke said. “I think today a lot of it was I was aggressive at the beginning, and then they started swinging more.”
Wes Benjamin (0-2) allowed three runs, three hits and three walks in 1 2/3 innings. He was recalled from Triple-A Round Rock to make the start.
“He’s got to throw the ball over the plate,” Texas manager Chris Woodward said. “His strength is usually pounding the strike zone and executing strikes in the zone, quality pitches. When he’s not doing that, he gets in trouble.”
Texas pitchers issued eight walks, including three to Correa.
“The walks are something we harp on quite a bit,” Woodward said. “These guys aren’t going to chase. They’re good hitters, and tonight we made them look like Hall of Famers when you pitch around them.”
Jose Trevino had two hits and two RBIs, Khris Davis hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth and García added a solo home run in the eighth for the Rangers, who lost their fourth in a row. Isiah Kiner-Falefa finished with three hits.
Rangers: OF Joey Gallo was out of the lineup as a precaution as he deals with some hamstring issues, Woodward said. “He’s been battling a little bit of hammy tightness, stiffness,” Woodward said. “It’s more of a preventative thing. Obviously, I wouldn’t give him a day off one day after an off day. I just want to keep him healthy.”
Astros: 1B Yuli Gurriel returned to the lineup after missing Thursday’s game due to illness. He finished 1 for 3 and scored twice. … The MRI on RHP José Urquidy “didn’t show anything significant, just some inflammation,” Baker said. Urquidy left Wednesday’s start with posterior shoulder discomfort. … LHP Framber Valdez (broken left index finger) threw a bullpen at Minute Maid Park. Valdez said he was going to throw three innings for Triple-A Sugar Land on Sunday in his first rehab start.
Texas right fielder David Dahl robbed Chas McCormick of a two-run homer in the seventh, leaping to grab the hard-hit ball as he banged into the wall. Dahl ended the eighth with a sliding catch of a line drive by Correa.
RHP Dane Dunning (2-2, 3.78 ERA) will start Saturday for Texas opposite Astros RHP Luis Garcia (0-3, 3.60), who is still in search of his first career win.
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