An 11-run third inning, in which every Texas starter scored at least one run, propelled the Rangers to a 16-5 win over Houston Monday night.
The Texas offense used pretty much every weapon besides the long ball to jump out to an early lead. An infield single, a hit-and-run play, a sacrifice fly and a double steal put two runs across the plate in the first.
But the wheels came off in the third.
Leonys Martin recorded a second infield single, Elvis Andrus added another single, Ian Kinsler a sacrifice bunt, and Adrian Beltre was intentionally walked for the second time.
A.J. Pierzynski and Mitch Moreland each drove in a pair of runs with bases-loaded hits to chase Astros starter Lucas Harrell from the game with a 6-1 deficit.
An error by Jose Altuve on a potential double play ball and an error by Matt Dominguez at third base allowed three more runs to come home before Kinsler lined a two-RBI single to left field.
All of that happened with one out in the third inning.
With two outs, Beltre recorded an RBI groundout and Pierzynski added his second RBI hit of the inning.
The 11 total runs were the most runs by a Rangers club since 2009, and the most runs scored by any team in baseball since last July, when the St. Louis Cardinals plated 12 runs against the Cubs.
The Astros’ bullpen, which came into play Monday with the American League’s highest bullpen ERA at 5.22, surrendered seven runs Monday night, only three of which were earned.
Leonys Martin drove in the 14th and 15th runs for Texas, scoring David Murphy on a fourth-inning single, and bringing home Jurickson Profar on an RBI groundout in the sixth.
Pierzynski’s fourth hit of the night was a solo home run in the seventh inning, ending a six-day homer drought for the Rangers. The Texas offense scored 39 runs between their last two home runs
Overshadowed by the offensive explosion was Matt Garza’s sixth start as a Ranger. The righty struck out eight hitters in six-and-two-thirds innings, but surrendered five runs on eight hits, four of which were doubles. Garza has now allowed 16 extra-base hits in his six starts as a Rangers player.
The start broke a streak of three straight appearances by Garza in which he had allowed four earned runs.
The Astros’ offensive action came in the second and seventh innings. Back-to-back doubles in the second inning scored the first run, and an L.J. Hoes RBI single in the seventh brought home the second Houston run.
RBI doubles by Robbie Grossman and Brett Wallace scored the final three runs for Houston.
Jake Elmore, a utility infielder, came into the game at catcher after starter Carlos Corporan left the game. Elmore then pitched a scoreless eighth inning, one of just two 1-2-3 innings recorded by the Houston pitching staff.
Robbie Ross and Joakim Soria relieved Garza to close out the game. No runs went against either pitcher’s ledger, although Robbie Ross allowed an inherited runner to score in the seventh.
The win moves the Rangers’ record back to 19 games over .500, tying their best win percentage of the season. They have a chance to go 20 games over .500 with the second of three games against the Astros Tuesday night.
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