(AP) – Chas McCormick had a two-run single as part of a four-run eighth, Lance McCullers Jr. threw six scoreless innings and the Houston Astros won their sixth straight, 6-2 over the Texas Rangers on Sunday.
Houston loaded the bases with one out in the eighth on singles by José Altuve, Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman. Yuli Gurriel hit a sacrifice fly to right off Joely Rodríguez (1-2). After Kyle Tucker walked, McCormick singled to left before Myles Straw capped the inning with an RBI single.
“My last two at-bats I started feeling a little more comfortable at the plate, seeing the ball a little better,” McCormick said. “I enjoy hitting off lefties, so going up there, I had a little confidence. It was special. It was huge. I love getting the RBI to break that game apart.”
Brooks Raley (2-2) struck out the side in the eighth.
“Like I’ve been saying all year, you are trying to put as much distance between you and .500 as possible,” Houston manager Dusty Baker said of the winning streak and 8-2 homestand. “We needed a good homestand and it was in our division, so that combination of things, it was key for us to win.”
The Rangers’ David Dahl tied it at 2 in the seventh with a two-run homer to center off Andre Scrubb. Texas lost its sixth straight.
“I have 100 percent confidence in these guys,” Rangers manager Chris Woodward said. “I addressed the team a little bit after the game and told them to keep their heads up. They work so hard. We do have to get a lot better in certain areas. Pretty much in every aspect, we haven’t really played that good of baseball lately, and a few mistakes are costing us.”
Bregman hit an RBI single in the first, and Correa increased the lead to 2-0 in the fifth with an RBI groundout, but Kyle Gibson prevented further damage, snagging a comebacker from Michael Brantley to end the inning.
McCullers scattered five hits and struck out five. He has not allowed a run against the Rangers in 17 innings, spanning three scoreless outings dating to last season.
“I didn’t have my best stuff today or my best command, but I got through it in a relatively efficient manner,” McCullers said. “I felt in control during the outing even when there were guys on base. ... I felt good about my ability to make pitches when I needed to and keep the ball on the ground.”
Gibson allowed two runs on four hits with three strikeouts in seven innings. He continued his strong start to the season, yielding two or fewer runs for the seventh outing out of his last eight.
“We’re still really confident as a group,” Gibson said. “We’re really close in just about every game. That’s something that not a lot of teams can say on a six-game skid.”
Rangers: 3B Brock Holt (hamstring) is close to being activated off the injured list, but he could go on a rehab assignment first, Woodward said.
Astros: RHP José Urquidy (posterior shoulder discomfort) was placed on the 10-day injured list retroactive to May 13, and RHP Enoli Paredes was reinstated from the IL. Urquidy could start throwing again early this week, Baker said. ... LHP Framber Valdez (left index finger fracture) had his first scheduled rehab assignment for Triple-A Sugar Land on Sunday postponed because of bad weather. ... RHP Jake Odorizzi (right pronator muscle strain) is scheduled to pitch his first rehab start Monday for Sugar Land.
Rangers: RHP Jordan Lyles (1-3, 6.63 ERA) starts Monday against the New York Yankees in the opener of a four-game series. Lyles has lost three straight decisions.
Astros: After an off day Monday, RHP Cristian Javier (3-1, 3.08) will take the mound Tuesday to start a three-game series at the Athletics. Javier will be facing Oakland for a third time this season, going 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in the two previous outings.
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