HOUSTON – Texas manager Chris Woodward was thrilled to get a win in Houston over the Astros on Tuesday night, even if it was a bit unconventional, after losing all nine games at Minute Maid Park in his first season in charge of the Rangers.
Elvis Andrus hit a tying solo homer in the ninth inning and the Rangers got two runs in the 10th on a balk and two errors to beat the Astros 6-5.
“There’s are a lot of demons in this ballpark. I haven’t won a game here since the World Series in ’17," said Woodward, who was the third base coach for the Dodgers when the Astros beat them in that World Series. “So it was nice. I figured that was how it was going to be if we won a game here."
Scott Heineman started the 10th on second base and advanced to third on a groundout by Shin-Soo Choo. The Rangers took the lead when he scored on a balk by Blake Taylor (1-1). The balk was called when the rookie stepped off the mound as Heineman took off as if he was heading home.
“Hopefully I don’t fold under pressure and let the game speed up on me again like that," Taylor said.
Heineman gave an assist on the play to third base coach Tony Beasley, who Heineman said told him to: “be as loud as you can, take off, and stop right at the cut."
Woodward raved about the teamwork of Heineman and Beasley on the play.
“That’s just pressure, when the pitcher’s back is to the runner and they hear somebody yell, sometimes, they’ll panic and cause that front leg to buckle a little bit," Woodward said. “That’s what happened, and it gave us a freebie."
Isiah Kiner-Falefa then reached on an error by shortstop Carlos Correa and scored from first with two outs when Joey Gallo bunted and catcher Martín Maldonado overthrew first base for another error.
“Boy, that was a bad night at the ballpark for us," Houston manager Dusty Baker said. “We gave away at least three runs tonight. It’s tough to win at the big-league level when you’re giving away runs and outs."
Jose Altuve, who had three hits, started the 10th on second and scored when Michael Brantley singled off Rafael Montero to make it 6-5. Yuli Gurriel grounded into a double play, and Montero retired Kyle Tucker for his seventh save.
Jonathan Hernández (5-0) pitched two scoreless innings for the win.
The Rangers trailed by one entering the ninth after the Astros took the lead on a three-run homer by Brantley in the seventh. Andrus, playing his first game since missing 11 with a lower back strain, connected off Ryan Pressly for his first homer this season to start the ninth and tie it at 4-all.
Texas led by two in the seventh when Abraham Toro and Justin Garneau hit consecutive singles with no outs to chase Jordan Lyles. Nick Goody took over and retired the next two batters before Brantley hit his homer off the foul pole in right field on a full count.
It was the first time this season Goody allowed an inherited runner to score, and he crouched down and stared at the ground as Brantley rounded the bases.
Houston starter Framber Valdez yielded five hits and three runs with eight strikeouts in seven innings.
The Astros returned to play Tuesday after their game Sunday against Oakland was postponed because a member of the A’s organization tested positive for the coronavirus.
Baker thinks the Astros might not have been as sharp as usual after a week where they not only missed a game because of the positive coronavirus test, but also had a game postponed on Wednesday because of Hurricane Laura and didn't play on Friday to protest racial inequality.
“You don't like it, but it’s bound to happen," Baker said. “But you don’t like the sequence of how it happened. Hopefully we got all this out of our system tonight and we'll come back sharper."
Lyles took over for the second inning after the Rangers used an opener for the first time this season by starting Luis García. Lyles allowed six hits and three runs in five-plus innings.
There were two outs in the sixth inning when Correa hit a run-scoring single on a grounder to left field to cut the lead to 3-1.
Valdez plunked Choo to start the game, and he stole second base. Kiner-Falefa singled on an infield grounder and he reached second, and Choo scored on the play on an error by Valdez when he badly overthrew first base.
Kiner-Falefa advanced to third on a wild pitch and the Rangers made it 2-0 when he scored on a single by Nick Solak with one out in the first.
Ronald Guzmán hit an RBI triple to the corner of right field to push the lead to 3-0 in the fourth.
Rangers: 2B Rougned Odor was placed on the injured list Monday retroactive to Friday because of an infection in his right eye. ... LHP Brett Martin (left rotator-cuff inflammation) was activated from the injured list on Tuesday.
Astros: 3B Alex Bregman (right hamstring strain) is improving and could be activated sometime during Houston’s upcoming road trip which begins on Friday and goes through Sept. 13. He has been out since Aug. 20.
Correa ended his franchise-record error-less streak at shortstop at 90 games with his 10th inning miscue. His last error had been April 21, 2019 at Texas. He broke his own record, which had been 70 games.
Houston’s Cristian Javier (3-1, 3.77 ERA) opposes Texas left-hander Kolby Allard (0-2, 7.82) when the series continues Wednesday night.