ARLINGTON -- Prince Fielder got the Rangers started with a two-run home run in the first inning, and Texas took the first of a three-game Lone Star series against Houston in a 7-5 victory at Globe Life Park on Tuesday. The Rangers have won eight straight at home over the Astros going back to last season.
"Any time you can get that first game, it's huge, especially at home," Fielder said. "We're playing good baseball and the offense is starting to click. It was only a matter of time."
Rangers starter Derek Holland labored his way through five innings on 105 pitches to get the victory. He went to full counts on seven of 21 batters but held the Astros to two runs on five hits, a walk and five strikeouts.
"Definitely, my pitch count was too high tonight," Holland said. "I wasn't executing pitches like I wanted and I fell behind a lot. It cost me coming out earlier than I wanted, but I got stronger as the game went on."
Fielder's home run came off Astros starter Scott Feldman and was set up by shortstop Carlos Correa's error on Nomar Mazara's grounder. Facing his former team, Feldman allowed four runs (three earned) in five innings, on six hits, three walks and a strikeout.
"He just couldn't put away hitters," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "They had a lot of guys that put swings on the ball with two strikes and found a way to do something, whether it was blooping a hit, a couple of doubles, fight some things, and we just couldn't put away hitters. And they did a good job of battling deeper into counts and kept at-bats alive. Every time we did something, they seemed to answer back, and they kept the gap big enough for them to have a little bit of a comfort level, at least going into the last inning."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Desmond delivers:Ian Desmond, struggling at the plate to start the season, had two big hits early. He had an RBI single in the Rangers' three-run first after entering the game 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position. He also had a one-out double in the third and scored on a single by Rougned Odor. It was his first extra-base hit of the season. More >
Short-staffed: In lasting only five innings, Feldman became the fourth Astros pitcher in the last five games unable to finish six innings. The only pitcher to go deep into a game in that span is Dallas Keuchel, who threw eight scoreless innings in Friday's win over the Tigers. Astros starters have five quality starts in 14 games.
"That's just a pride thing," Feldman said. "We obviously are trying our best to get deep into the game, and those guys in the 'pen have been carrying a heavy load. We're going to get better and keep improving as the season goes on, and hopefully none of this five-and-dive-type stuff like tonight." More >
Barnette staves off Astros threat:Tony Barnette took over for Holland in the sixth trying to protect a 4-2 lead. Tyler White led off the inning with a drive to deep right-center; Delino DeShields missed a terrific running catch as he headed into the wall, and instead the ball popped out and went for a double. But Barnette kept White at second, retiring two hitters on fly balls to DeShields and getting the final out on a grounder to first.
"In a situation like that, pitching with the lead, you want to pitch to contact and make them put it in play," Barnette said. "That's my job. I got some loud outs, but I got some outs."
Clutch hits lacking: The Astros, who entered the night ranked 14th in the American League in batting average with runners in scoring position (.186), struggled again to get clutch hits, going 2-for-10 with runners on second and third. Evan Gattis, Carlos Gomez and Marwin Gonzalez had consecutive doubles to start the second for Houston's only hits with runners in scoring position.
"We've got to find a way to score without the homer," Hinch said. "We put up some at-bats with guys in scoring position and didn't account for enough. Obviously, we punched [out] a few times tonight and didn't hit deep in the count very well. This team, we're going to score. We have a potent lineup." More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Fielder has 13 RBIs in 14 games despite hitting .173. Since 1901, the lowest batting average by a player with at least 100 RBIs is held by Tony Armas, who hit .218 while driving in 107 runs in 1983 for the Red Sox.
Astros manager A.J. Hinch successfully got a call overturned in the sixth inning after challenging that pitcher Chris Devenski's pickoff throw to first baseman White was in time to get DeShields, who was originally called safe.
WHAT'S NEXT Astros: Right-hander Doug Fister makes his third start for the Astros when they face the Rangers at 7:05 p.m. CT Wednesday at Globe Life Park. Fister has allowed 14 hits and nine earned runs in 10 2/3 innings in two starts this season and will be facing the Rangers for the first time since 2014.
Rangers: Left-hander Cole Hamels takes a nine-game winning streak into his start against the Astros at 7:05 p.m. CT Wednesday at Globe Life Park. The Rangers are 13-0 in Hamels' last 13 starts going back to Aug. 15, 2015.