After trailing 3-1 in the fourth inning, the Rangers scored six unanswered runs in a 7-3 win over the Houston Astros, completing a series sweep.
Martin Perez pitched well, outside of a three-run fourth inning. The lefty threw seven innings, allowing only those three runs and striking out eight Houston batters.
The first Ranger run came without the luxury of a hit.
Texas got on the board first when Craig Gentry reached on an error, stole second, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a fielder’s choice by Elvis Andrus in the third inning.
The next half-inning was the only hiccup for the Rangers Wednesday night.
Chris Carter hit an RBI bloop single just in front of Alex Rios in right field for the first Astro run. Two batters later, Brandon Laird – little brother of former Ranger Gerald Laird – hit his fifth home run of the season to center field to give Houston a three-run inning and a two-run lead.
During the Rangers’ September struggles, so much has been said about the lack of “shutdown innings” – when a pitcher gives up no runs after the bats put one or more runs on the board.
Wednesday, the Rangers got the offensive equivalent of a shutdown inning.
Texas logged five runs on five hits, all with two outs. After two groundouts to start the inning, a single, walk and hit by pitch loaded the bases for Leonys Martin, who cleared the bases with a double to right field.
Ian Kinsler and Alex Rios hit RBI singles to complete the Ranger rally in the fourth.
Kinsler struck again in the sixth inning with a two-out, solo blast to left field that chased Houston starter Dallas Keuchel from the game.
The Astros never advanced a man past second base in any inning besides the three-run fourth inning. Three of Houston’s six hits against Perez came in that fourth frame.
Jason Frasor pitched a scoreless eighth inning despite allowing one hit and walking one. Joakim Soria threw a scoreless ninth in a non-save situation in his first outing since surrendering a walk-off grand slam in Kansas City on Sunday.
Texas finished the season series with a 17-2 record against the Astros, who have lost 12 straight games. The Rangers outscored the Astros 126-69 in 2013.
Both Cleveland and Tampa Bay were victorious in their respective games, so the Rangers could not gain ground in the Wild Card race for the third straight day. Cleveland begins a four-game series with the Minnesota Twins Thursday. The Rays have one more game against the Yankees before finishing their 2013 campaign with a three-game set in Toronto.
The four remaining games on the Rangers’ schedule are all against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, starting Thursday at 7:05 p.m.