ARLINGTON -- Led by Adrian Beltre's record-tying cycle, the Rangers opened a three-game series with the Astros by outslugging them, 12-9, on Monday night. The Rangers have won five of their last six games.
"It was a good night, a good win for the team," Beltre said. "We came out swinging the bats and got some big hits."
Beltre hit for the third cycle of his career, tying him with John Reilly, Bob Meusel and Babe Herman for the most in Major League history. The Rangers knocked out Astros rookie starter Lance McCullers in the first inning on their way to leading 11-3 after three innings. A fourth-inning grand slam by catcher Jason Castro helped the Astros get back within striking distance.
"We kept plugging away and we didn't give in, and that's been a big part of our mentality this year -- no matter what the deficit, there's always a shot we can come back," Castro said.
Rangers starter Colby Lewis earned the victory despite allowing seven runs in six innings. This is the 13th time in Rangers history that a pitcher has earned a win despite allowing seven runs.
"I felt great tonight, but the big story was Adrian Beltre and the offense," Lewis said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Beltre keys six-run outburst: The Rangers scored six runs in the first inning off McCullers, and the key at-bat came from Beltre, who stepped up after a walk to Delino DeShields and singles by Rougned Odor and Prince Fielder had given the Rangers a one-run lead. Beltre got behind in the count, 0-2, but fouled off a couple of pitches before hitting a 2-2 fastball for a two-run triple.
"[Beltre] has a presence in our lineup," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. "When he is in the middle of our lineup, it gives our guys confidence." More >
Early exit for McCullers, early debut for Fiers:Mike Fiers, acquired in a trade with the Brewers last week, was scheduled to start on Tuesday but wound up having to throw five innings in relief after McCullers couldn't escape the first. McCullers faced nine batters and gave up seven hits -- including a homer to Shin-Soo Choo -- one walk and six runs, and saw his ERA increase to 3.17 from 2.48.
"I've seen it happen to guys like Felix Hernandez [chased in the first inning against the Astros earlier this year] and other people, and I wish I would have been able to compete a little better out there for the guys, just not make so many guys eat so many innings," McCullers said. "It's going to happen. Hopefully, it doesn't happen again. Hopefully, I got it off my back." More >
Odor's triple keeps Rangers rolling: Odor hit a two-run triple to right field, providing the biggest hit in a five-run third inning. His hit scored Bobby Wilson and DeShields and set up an RBI single for Fielder. It was Odor's sixth triple of the season and his fourth since the All-Star break.
Red-hot Castro connects for slam: Castro, who entered the game hitting .364 during his six-game hitting streak, clubbed his third career grand slam, off Lewis in the fourth inning, for his second hit of the game. Castro has three homers and 10 RBIs in his last six games as Houston's catchers continue to be difficult outs.
"After the first few [innings], we were looking at a pretty big deficit there, and it kind of gave us more hope, and I thought we did a good job with the bats and kept pushing all night long and didn't give in," Castro said. "We were doing everything we could to try to come back." More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The last time two Astros catchers hit grand slams in a season was in 1985 -- Mark Bailey had two and Alan Ashby had one. Hank Conger (Saturday) and Castro (Monday) have hit the team's only two grand slams this season.
WHAT'S NEXT Astros: The Astros are planning to call up Dan Straily from Triple-A Fresno to start Tuesday's 7:05 p.m. CT contest against the Rangers in Arlington. Straily is being called up after Fiers was needed in relief on Monday. It will be Straily's first start since July 8.
Rangers: Right-hander Yovani Gallardo pitches against the Astros at 7:05 p.m. CT on Tuesday in Arlington. He is 0-3 with a 5.46 ERA in his last six starts, and 1-1 with a 6.52 ERA in two starts against the Astros this season.