HOUSTON -- Wandy Rodriguez did not get the chance to pitch the Rangers' first complete game of the season on Tuesday night even though he seemed to be cruising toward that destination for eight innings.
But there were a few other noteworthy accomplishments achieved beyond the simple fact that Rodriguez was outstanding in pitching the Rangers to a 7-1 win over the Astros on Tuesday night.
Rodriguez earned his first Major League win since May 26, 2013, when he was pitching for the Pirates against the Brewers. He did so pitching against the Astros, his original organization and the team he played for from 2005-12 before being traded to the Pirates. He is 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA against his former team.
"It was very important to win the game," Rodriguez said. "It has been a long time for me. I feel very happy."
It has also been awhile for the Rangers' rotation. Rodriguez was the first Rangers starter to earn a victory in their last 15 games. The last starter to end up the winning pitcher was Yovani Gallardo on April 17 in Seattle.
Rodriguez allowed three hits, including a solo home run by Luis Valbuena in the first, walked one and struck out eight. The eight strikeouts were his most in a game since he also had eight on Sept. 4, 2011.
"Classic Wandy," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "He was moving his fastball around, never doubling up on his location and never missing much; he would go hard with it, soft with it, sometimes make you chase, threw his breaking ball for strikes. Classic Wandy."
Rodriguez retired the last 19 batters he faced and threw 104 pitches. But the Rangers sent Shawn Tolleson out for the ninth.
"He reached the pitch count we wanted him to reach," Banister said. "We needed to get Shawn out there, throw some pitches and freshen him up."
"I felt I could do it, but they said it was enough and I said, 'Fine,'" Rodriguez said. "I felt strong all night."
The pivotal moment for Rodriguez came in the second inning while holding a 4-1 lead. The Astros were able to load the bases on a one-out single by Marwin Gonzalez, a two-out double by Jason Castro and a walk to Robbie Grossman.
That brought up Jose Altuve, the defending American League batting champion who entered the game hitting .360. Rodriguez bent a curve over the plate for strike one and then threw a fastball that Altuve crushed foul down the left-field line.
Rodriguez missed with his next two pitches, then threw another fastball that Altuve beat into the ground and rolled toward the mound. Rodriguez moved quickly, got to the ball and fired to first for the out.
Turns out Grossman was the last Astros baserunner of the night, as Tolleson also set down the side in order in the ninth.