This land is Moreland: Texas overtakes Astros in West
By T.R. Sullivan and Brian McTaggart
ARLINGTON -- Mitch Moreland hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the Rangers a dramatic 6-5 victory over the Astros on Tuesday night and enable Texas to jump a half-game over Houston and into first place in the American League West.
Harris threw one pitch to Adrian Beltre, who lifted a single into center that moved Stubbs to third. That brought up Moreland, who hit a relatively shallow fly ball to center. Stubbs broke for home and scored standing when the throw from Colby Rasmus was off target.
"Harris is a tough pitcher, and I was wanting to get something over the plate to get to the outfield," Moreland said. "Luckily, we had Stubbs at third base, so I didn't have to get it too deep."
The Astros fell to 2-6 on their road trip and are 4-9 in September, including four one-run losses. They lead the Twins by 1 1/2 games for the first AL Wild Card spot.
"We've played some close games, and one-run losses or two-run losses are tough, especially this time of year," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "There's a lot of attention, a lot of 'want' factor. Our guys are pushing. We're in it. We're having a hard time getting to the finish line on the right side of these on a couple of occasions. We'll pick ourselves up. We've got some games left; we've got some work today, and we need better outcomes."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Rangers strike back: The Rangers lost their four-run lead after the Astros scored three in the second, and then Texas fell behind, 5-4, in the fourth on a two-run single by Evan Gattis. But the Rangers struck back in the bottom of the inning on a two-out single by Fielder and a double by Beltre that tied the score.
Gattis comes through in clutch: The Astros scratched and clawed their way back from a four-run deficit in the first inning, scoring three times in the second to get within a run. They rallied to take a temporary lead in the fourth, when Gattis lofted a two-run, two-out single with the bases loaded over the glove of shortstop Elvis Andrus to make it 5-4.
Rangers' bullpen picks up Holland: Holland allowed five runs on 10 hits and two walks over 5 2/3 innings. The bullpen combination of Ross Ohlendorf, Sam Freeman, Sam Dyson and Shawn Tolleson picked him up by pitching 3 1/3 scoreless innings and allowing just one walk.
"We felt great about it," Tolleson said. "Any time you can keep them from scoring, it's always fun for everyone, but this was a little more exciting than your average win. It was really fun."
McHugh struggles: The Astros' Collin McHugh, who had won his previous four starts, was rocked for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, including four in the first. He didn't factor into the decision after the Astros were forced to use seven relievers.
"We were a little shocked at the first inning," Hinch said. "They came out and punched us right in the face. Again, they didn't hit the ball that hard, but they tacked on a couple of base hits in a row. We responded, which I was proud of, and [McHugh] responded and gave us what he could." More >
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Hinch unsuccessfully challenged a foul call down the left-field line on a ball hit by Hank Conger in the fourth. Conger doubled to right-center on the next pitch.
"We've got another tough ballgame tomorrow. The ballclub in the other clubhouse, they are a good ballclub. They haven't been in first place all year because of a fluke." -- Rangers manager Jeff Banister
"We'll be ready to play. Our world's not coming to an end." -- Hinch
WHAT'S NEXT Astros: Ace lefty Dallas Keuchel will get the call for Wednesday's 7:05 p.m. CT game at Globe Life Park. The three-time AL Pitcher of the Month leads the league in ERA (2.22), innings pitched (career-high 206 2/3) and WAR (7.1). He's 13-0 at home, but on the road he's 4-7 with a 3.13 ERA, including a win at Texas in April.
Rangers:Martin Perez will try to snap a two-game losing streak when he pitches against the Astros at 7:05 p.m. CT on Wednesday in his 11th start since returning from Tommy John surgery. He is 3-1 with a 2.17 ERA.