ARLINGTON — Adrian Beltre found the right field seats with an opposite-field blast in the sixth inning off Houston starter Jarred Cosart to put the Rangers ahead for good in a 4-2 victory over the Astros Tuesday night.
Cosart carried a 1.15 ERA into the game through six major league starts. Beltre’s four-bagger was the first given up by the Astros rookie this year.
The Rangers’ three runs off Cosart to complete the comeback were the most he has allowed this season.
After a walk to Chris Carter in the second inning, Matt Dominguez lifted a 3-1 pitch from Blackley over the left field wall for a two-run blast to give Houston the early lead. It was homer No. 17 on the season for Dominguez.
Alex Rios knocked in the first Rangers run in the bottom of the second inning with a chopper down the third base line that went for an infield single and scored Adrian Beltre. Beltre started the Texas attack in the second with a double off the base of the scoreboard on the left field wall. He advanced to third on a wild pitch before scoring on Rios’s hit.
Rangers manager Ron Washington said the clutch hitting by Beltre is, well, “what he’s about.”
“He’s been swinging the bat really well, and getting it done in situations when we really need him to get it done,” Washington said. “It seems like every time we go down the stretch he’s ready to do it.”
“The only way I can really describe it is that he’s the MVP,” second baseman Ian Kinsler said. “[Beltre] is having an MVP-caliber season.”
Beltre took a more humble approach, and said it’s better to be lucky than good.
“I’ve been lucky lately, finding some holes,” he said.
Three of Beltre’s last six home runs have been hit to right field. He barely missed another home run in the third that fell just short of the wall in right-center.
The Rangers got an insurance run on a bases-loaded wild pitch by Joshua Zeid that scored Elvis Andrus.
Blackley, who hadn’t started a game since 2012, was expected to throw 65 pitches in Tuesday’s start. The lefty cruised through the first inning with just 11 pitches, and had just 38 pitches through three innings. But his 28-pitch fourth inning was enough to end his night.
“I felt good,” Blackley said. “I feel that when I came out I could’ve kept going, but after an inning and a half of sitting down it started to get a little heavy.”
The 30-year-old allowed three hits, struck out two and walked one against his former team in his Rangers debut. He said the plan going forward is to extend his pitch count, but he will go off of what his coaches ask of him.
Jason Frasor, Neal Cotts, Tanner Scheppers and Joe Nathan combined for five scoreless innings of relief. Frasor pitched the fifth inning and into the sixth, and Cotts finished the sixth frame and pitched the seventh.
Scheppers and Nathan threw an inning each to close the game. The four relievers combined to allow just three hits. Nathan earned save No. 37 on the season, matching last season’s total.
No Houston runner advanced past second base after the second inning. The only Astros player to reach second was rookie Max Stassi.
Stassi recorded his first major league hit in the fifth inning, but was promptly erased from the base paths on a play ruled a fielder’s choice, an error on catcher A.J. Pierzynski, and an unassisted out by Ian Kinsler.
For those scoring at home, that was a FC-E1-4U, all in one play. Stassi drifted off the bag at second and was tagged out.
The Rangers have clinched the Silver Boot series with the Astros, and will finish a three-game set with Houston Wednesday at Rangers Ballpark. The two teams have four head-to-head matchups left.